Catalysts used to produce biofuels by transesterification reactions are known as biofuel catalysts. Edible and non-edible vegetable oils or animal fats are used in transesterification reaction in the presence of catalyst. Biofuel production using catalysts has attained wide popularity in the last two decades. Biofuel can be synthesized by the transesterification reaction of a triglyceride with a primary alcohol in the presence of catalysts. Alkaline catalysts are commonly used for the production of biofuels. A number of novel pathways are being developed for the production of advanced biofuels via catalysts to produce renewable fuel which can be used in conventional engines and existing infrastructure. Advanced biofuels require technologies that efficiently and economically convert renewable feed stocks. Commercialized catalysts for biofuels can be used for hydro treating of natural oils & fats and for upgrading and stabilization of pyrolysis oils to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The choice of a catalyst for the biofuel production depends upon the amount of free fatty acid and raw materials.
The growing threat of fossil fuel depletion is anticipated to propel the expansion of biofuel catalyst market. Extensive use of fossil fuels has increased the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and it is considered as a primary contributor to global warming. In order to reduce the cost, some researchers have developed new biocatalysts in recent years. Advantage of the biocatalyst is that no purification necessary for using the biocatalysts. These features of biocatalysts are likely to boost the biofuel catalyst market. Manufacturers are engaged in research & development activities to improve the efficiency and selectivity of catalysts for renewable applications, which in turn is projected to fuel the biofuel catalyst market.
Based on product, the global biofuel catalyst market can be classified into alkaline catalyst, acid catalyst, and enzyme catalysts. Alkali and acid catalysts are commonly used for the production of biofuels owing to their abundant availability. Alkali and acid catalysts consist of homogenous and heterogeneous types. Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are commonly employed base catalysts due to their low cost and wide availability. Alkali catalyzed chemical reaction is considered economical as the process is carried out under low temperature and pressure environment with significant yield. The commonly used acid catalysts include hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. Enzyme catalysts are more attractive owing to its simpler purification process. In terms of application, the biofuel catalysts market can be segmented into transportation, heating oil, and power generation.
The global biofuel catalyst market witnessed robust expansion in 2016, and the trend is estimated to continue during the forecast period. Several countries across the globe are involved in the production of biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuels. The biofuel market provides lucrative opportunities in Asia Pacific owing to the increasing number of diesel vehicles in the region. Europe is another key market for the consumption of biofuel catalysts owing to the attractive automotive industry coupled with advancements in technologies. In North America, the U.S government has decided to implement laws to reduce oil dependency. Oil richness and demand for sustainable energy makes Middle East & Africa, a key region for the expansion of biofuel catalyst market. Biofuel industries in Latin America are booming due to rise in domestic demand and it is likely to have significant influence on the global biofuel catalyst market.
Key players operating in the biofuel catalyst market include W.R.Grace & Co.-Conn, BHR Biofuels Ltd, and Sud-Chemie.
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