NEW SYNTHESIS ROUTE FOR GLYCOLS FROM UNSATURATED VEGETABLE OILS USING HETEROGENEOUS ACIDIC CATALYSTS
Keywords:glycols, vegetable oils, heterogenous catalysis, solvent effect.
Unique structures of fats and oils, together with their physical characteristics provide them a large range
of applications; the reactive unsaturated fatty acids are commonly used to generate compounds with
greater diversity of application (pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries). Results obtained in the
hydroxylation of methyl oleate (9-Octadecenoic acid, methyl ester) by producing the epoxide, using
Prileschajew reaction, and the following epoxide opening with water are presented. For both stages the
use of heterogenous meso- and macroporous acidic catalysts based on resins of sulfonated polystyrene
(Amberlite IR120, Amberlyst 15, Dowex50X2) was investigated. To provide a selective hydroxylation of
vegetal oils with percarboxylic acids and heterogenous acidic catalysts, the crucial issue is to maximize
the contact of the intermediate compound (epoxide) with the acidic sites. This can be achieved with acid
resins with low cross-linking level (low DVB content) or with high superficial area. In addition, glycols
production is selectively favored with the use of aprotic solvents with high dielectric constant.
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