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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 11, pp. 2045-2057

Published online 2009-10-29

Green synthesis of biodiesel using ionic liquids

Martyn J. Earle, Natalia V. Plechkova* and Kenneth R. Seddon

The QUILL Centre, Stranmillis Road, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT9 5AG, UK

Abstract: This paper is a hybrid starting with an overview and history of biodiesel synthesis and finishing with a description with some of our latest unpublished data. Initially, we examine "green" ways of obtaining biodiesel using ionic liquids, which can have an acidic or basic functionality, and can function both as a solvent and catalyst for the (trans)esterification reaction to obtain biodiesel. Both animal and vegetable resources can be utilized as a resource for (trans)esterification reactions depending on the geographical area. Biodiesel is of great interest because it enables motor vehicle transport using a renewable resource, while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels being released into the environment.