The excessive consumption of petroleum resources leads to global warming, fast depletion of petroleum reserves, as well as price instability of gasoline. Thus, there is a strong need for alternative renewable fuels to replace petroleum-derived fuels. The striking features of an alternative fuel include the low carbon footprints, renewability and affordability at manageable prices. Biodiesel, made from waste oils, animal fats, vegetal oils, is a totally renewable and non-toxic liquid fuel which has gained significant attraction in the world. Due to technological advancements in catalytic chemistry, biodiesel can be produced from a variety of feedstock employing a variety of catalysts and recovery technologies. Recently, several ground-breaking advancements have been made in nano-catalyst technology which showed the symmetrical correlation with cost competitive biodiesel production. Nanocatalysts have unique properties such as their selective reactivity, high activation energy and controlled rate of reaction, easy recovery and recyclability. Here, we present an overview of various feedstock used for biodiesel production, their composition and characteristics. The major focus of this review is to appraise the characterization of nanocatalysts, their effect on biodiesel production and methodologies of biodiesel production.
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