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Catalyst for Selective Acid Transesterfication

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory are looking for industry partners to commercialize a newly developed bi-functional, heterogeneous catalyst that is designed to expel aqueous byproducts formed during transesterfications reactions.


The ability to separate functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) for recycling has enabled applications of these materials as heterogeneous catalysts in many chemical transformations. However, their sensitivity to hydrolysis and subsequent loss of catalytic performance has reduced the economic benefit potential of MSN catalysts. To address this drawback, Iowa  State  University  and  Ames  Laboratory  researchers  have  developed  an  efficient bifunctional MSN catalyst for esterification reactions. Superior reactivity has been achieved using this catalyst by supplementing the catalytic groups with secondary functionality designed to expel the resulting aqueous by-products, thereby preventing hydrolysis of the silica surface and plugging of the nano-environment. The principle employed in the architecture of this new catalyst makes it suitable for reactions involving dehydration and yields compounds of high purity.

• Robust structure enables multiple recycling
• High purity yields are achieved by efficiently expelling by-products of reaction
• Enhanced reactivity compared to existing commercial catalysts
Applications and Industries

acid transesterfication, dehydration reaction

More Information

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Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,993,793
Multifunctional mesoporous silica catalyst
The present invention provides bifunctional silica mesoporous materials, including mesoporous silica nanoparticles ("MSN"), having pores modified with diarylammonium triflate and perfluoroaryl moieties, that are useful for the acid-catalyzed esterification of organic acids with organic alcohols.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Craig Forney<>