Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Research and Publications


Date of this Version

January 2001


United States Patent Number 6174501. Full version at:


Triglycerides are reacted in a liquid phase reaction with a homogeneous basic catalyst and alcohol, such as ethanol or methanol. The reaction yields a spatially separated two phase result with an upper located non-polar phase consisting principally of transesterified triglycerides and a lower located phase consisting principally of crude glycerol and residual transesterified triglycerides. The transesterified triglycerides and/or glycerol phase is/are optionally, each separately passed through strong cationic ion exchanger(s) to remove anions, resulting in neutral product(s). The crude glycerol is then flashed to remove alcohol and is reacted with an etherifying agent, such as isobutylene or isoamylene, in the presence of a strong acid catalyst to produce glycerol ethers. The glycerol ethers are then added back to the transesterified triglycerides to provide an improved biodiesel fuel.

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