Indexed on: 01 Feb '06Published on: 01 Feb '06Published in: Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Natural oils and fats are emerging as a biobased alternative feedstock to conventional crude oil in the production of chemicals and transportation fuel. However, many of these biobased chemicals are not currently cost competitive with petrochemicals because of high raw material and production costs. To improve the economic outlook of the biobased chemicals, the use of suitable catalysts becomes imperative. Recently, the discovery of advanced material synthesis strategies such as supramolecular-assembled mesoporous materials has created new opportunities in tailoring catalyst properties specifically for the conversion challenges encountered with oils and fats. These nanostructured materials have a combination of extremely high surface areas and flexible pore sizes that makes them attractive for catalysis applications. This article reviews the application of this new class of advanced materials for the conversion of oils and fats to biobased chemicals.