Methanolysis of epoxidized soybean oil in continuous flow conditions

    Vincenzo Pantonea, Amelita Grazia Laurensab, Cosimo Annesec, Francesco Fracassib, Caterina Fuscob, Angelo Naccib,c, Antonella Russoa, Lucia D’Accoltib,c

    • a Greenswitch s.r.l., Ferrandina MT, Italy
    • b Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Bari Aldo Moro, Via E. Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy
    • c ICCOM-CNR, SS Bari, Via E. Orabona 4, 70126 Bari, Italy

    Bio-polyols synthesized from vegetables oils are a great alternative to petrochemical polyols for polyurethanes industry. The simplest approach to bio-polyols synthesis involves epoxidation of carbon–carbon double bond of unsaturated fatty ester moieties and subsequent epoxide ring-opening by nucleophilic reagents. In order to improve the latter process by increasing both productivity and product quality, the advantages of flow chemistry were exploited, such as facile automation, reproducibility, improved safety and process reliability, investigating for the first time in the literature the methanolysis reaction of epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) in a continuous flow mode.

    Compared with batch reaction, flow mode allowed the cut of the reaction time from 30 min to 2 min, and the reduction of catalyst concentration by an order of magnitude, which brought significant benefits in terms of cost efficiency and eco-sustainability, rendering the method suitable for industrial applications.

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