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Lube-Tech


as feedstocks for bio-lubricants with the correct amount of pre-treatment. There are also many transformational techniques available which can use these highly renewable and sustainable feedstocks to create other types of lubricant.


Simple esters can be created through esterification with alcohols. Methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl esters can all be easily transesterified from waste fats and oils.


Figure 3: Transesterification of a mixed fatty acid triglyceride to simple ester and glycerol


Some waste oils are almost or completely degraded and so would transesterify and produce water rather than glycerol.


Higher quality esters can be made from separated fatty acids and reaction with polyols. Alcohols such as neopentyl glycol, pentaerythritol, 2-ethyl hexanoic and trimethylpropane are already used with veg-sourced oleic acid and other fatty acids to yield high performance esters.


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.135 page 4


A waste-based source of these acids would create a highly-sustainable alternative compared to the existing supply of sources which could otherwise be used as a source of food. Furthermore, fatty acids can be transformed catalytically to create a range of products which can replace existing mineral oils. [7][8]


Another potential transformation of waste fats and oils is to create epoxidised vegetable oil/fatty derivatives. From this platform a variety of further transformations can be achieved to produce lubricant base fluids or additives. Waste oils can be transformed using peracids and varying certain reaction parameters such as, reactant molar ratio, temperature, nature of the solvent, presence or absence of a catalyst (this is usually a mineral acid or an ion exchange resin), stirring speed, type of peroxyacid (peracetic, performic, m-chloroperbenzoic acid), mode and rate of the addition of peroxide/acetic or formic acid, the reaction period and contacting pattern (batch/semi-batch mode/ azeotropic distillation). Due to their biogenic origin the resultant products have been shown to have a better solubility for synthetic esters along with an improved performance over mineral oil alternatives. These epoxidised products have been shown to possess impressive anti-corrosive, anti-wear, lubricity, thermo- oxidative and pour point suppressing qualities. Waste soya-bean oil, with its inherent unsaturation is an ideal candidate as a precursor for these lubricants. [9]


Figure 5: Epoxidised vegetable oil/fatty derivatives as a starting material to prepare different biolubricants/ additives for lubricants


Figure 4: Catalytic esterification of acid and polyol to polyol ester


Waste oils and fats are incentivised in a variety of countries for use in biofuel production. The biofuel market is increasing due to higher levels of incentives


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.164 AUGUST 2021 27


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