Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 27, Issue 1–4, pp 105–117 | Cite as

Solid Catalysts for the Synthesis of Fatty Esters of Glycerol, Polyglycerols and Sorbitol from Renewable Resources

  • Carlos Márquez-Alvarez
  • Enrique Sastre
  • Joaquín Pérez-Pariente


Partial esters of polyols such as glycerol, polyglycerols and sorbitol are nonionic surfactants used as emulsifiers in the food, detergents and cosmetics industries. The commercial large-scale production of these chemicals relies on traditional homogeneous catalysis processes making use of strong mineral acids or alkalis. This technology possesses severe drawbacks, related to the generation of large amounts of by-products, high energy demand, and heterogeneity of the ester mixtures obtained. The development of new processes based on more selective solid catalysts has, therefore, a great economical interest. This contribution reviews the scientific and technical literature in this field. It is proposed that solid catalysts based on MCM-41 and other mesostructures could give rise to the development of new, more efficient processes for the large-scale synthesis of fatty acid esters of polyols.

fatty acid esters polyols monoglycerides sorbitol polyglycerol nonionic surfactants emulsifiers heterogeneous catalysts zeolites mesoporous catalysts esterification transesterification glycerolysis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Márquez-Alvarez
    • 1
  • Enrique Sastre
    • 1
  • Joaquín Pérez-Pariente
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica, CSICMadridSpain

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