Author(s): Mo X, Looters E, Lu C, Liu Y, Goodwin JG
A novel sulfonated carbon composite solid acid was successfully prepared by the pyrolysis of a polymer matrix impregnated with glucose followed by sulfonation. The title catalyst has higher acid site density, better esterification activity of both small and large free fatty acids (acetic acid and palmitic acid), and better reusability than the previously reported carbon-based catalyst prepared by sulfonating pyrolyzed sugar. This catalyst also exhibited higher esterification activity than tungstated zirconia (WZ) and Silica-Supported Nafion (Nafion®SAC-13). The higher activity of the sulfonated carbon composite solid acid catalyst was clearly due to the presence of a much higher acid site density than any of the other catalysts.