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Effective synthesis of cetyl palmitate over co-precipitated WO3-ZrO2 catalysts
This study is focused on the development of solid acid catalysts for the synthesis of long chain fatty acids. A series of WO3-ZrO2 catalysts were prepared by co-precipitation method and tested in the synthesis of cetyl palmitate. The effect of WO3 loading (10, 15, and 20 wt% WO3) and calcination temperature (700 and 800 degrees C) on the catalyst properties and activity was investigated. XRD and Raman analysis confirmed that WO3 loading stabilized the tetragonal zirconia phase. Higher calcination temperature enhanced the acidities of the catalysts. WO3-ZrO2 catalysts were found to be very efficient for the synthesis of cetyl palmitate with high selectivity. These catalysts were tested for different reaction temperatures (135 and 162 degrees C), feed composition and catalyst amounts. The highest cetyl palmitate yield (98.4%) was obtained over the catalyst calcined at 800 degrees C with 15 wt% WO3, which had the highest total acidity. The catalysts preserved their activities up to three reuse.