A method is disclosed for the recovery of an organic acid from a dilute salt solution in which the cation of the salt forms an insoluble carbonate salt. A tertiary amine and CO.sub.2 are introduced to the solution to form the insoluble carbonate salt and a complex between the acid and an amine. A water immiscible solvent, such as an alcohol, is added to extract the acid/amine complex from the dilute salt solution to a reaction phase. The reaction phase is continuously dried and a product between the acid and the solvent, such as an ester, is formed.
This invention was supported in part with funding provided by Grant No. DE-FG36-03GO13010, awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government may have certain rights to this invention.