Chemical Engineering Faculty, Sahand University of Technology, P.O. Box 51335-1996, Sahand New Town, Tabriz, Iran; Reactor and Catalysis Research Center (RCRC), Sahand University of Technology, P.O. Box 51335-1996, Sahand New Town, Tabriz, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]
MCM-41 is a mesoporous silicate with hydrophobic structure which is a good candidate as catalyst support in biodiesel production, with high specific area (more than 1100 m2/g) and high thermal stability. In this study the hydrothermal stability and acidic property of Al-MCM-41 were improved by addition of Ce element into its structure with various amounts of Si/Ce molar ratio. Then it was loaded by magnesium with two different procedures: customary impregnation and Sono-dispersion. The following techniques were utilized to characterize the synthesized nanocatalysts: EDX, FTIR, FESEM, DRS, BET and XRD. The catalytic performance of bifunctional nanocatalysts for biodiesel production from acidic oil was analysed, while four operational parameters were fixed as: catalyst charge equal to 5 wt%, reaction temperature equal to 70 °C, reaction duration equal to 6 h and methanol/oil molar ratio equal to 9. Generally, the obtained results revealed that the conversion and the quality of produced biodiesel were increased significantly by increasing Ce amount of catalysts up to Si/Ce = 25 and also the sonicated sample represented a better reusability compare to non-sonicated one. Among the prepared samples, Mg/ACM-U (Si/Ce = 25) achieved the maximum conversion and high reusability for biodiesel production reaction after fifth cycle.