Cyclodextrins in biodiesel production

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The shortage in fossil fuels accelerated the research in production of biodiesebiodiesell.

Biodiesel is typically produced by transesterification of vegetable oils with an alcohol, usually methanol, to yield fatty acid alkyl (methyl) esthers (FAMEs) and glycerol by using an appropriate catalyst. The procedure can be catalyzed either by chemical catalysts or by enzymes (lipase). The lipase-catalyzed biodiesel production is considered to be more environmentally friendly than the chemically catalyzed reactions.

Cyclodextrins can act in these transesterification reactions

  • as catalyst;
  • as raw material for producing carbonaceous material to be used as catalyst;
  • by stabilizing the chemical catalyst;
  • by stabilizing the enzyme.

The table below gives a list of applications of CDs in biodiesel production.


Raw material Catalyst Conversion rate Reference
CD as catalyst
free fatty acids 6-O-(sulfobutyl) β-CD 91–98% [1]
CD as raw material for carbonization
oils with high free fatty acid content hydrothermally carbonized and sulfonated β-CD 80% [2]
waste cooking oil sulfonated carbon produced by hydrothermal carbonization of β-CD 89.5% [3]
CD for stabilizing chemical catalyst
vegetable oil (Xanthium sibricum) Mg(NO3)2 complexed by α- or β-CD 85–87% [4]
Xanthium sibricum Patr oil CuSO4 β-CD hybrid 88.6% [5]
waste cooking oil CsPW/bridged bis-cyclodextrin* 96.9% [6]
oleic acid Mo/MCM-41- β-CD 95% [7]
Jatropha sarcass L. seed crude oil β-CD-Fe3O4 magnetic-Brønsted acidic ionic liquid 94.1% [8]
Xanthium sibricum Patr oil β-CD-containing ionic liquid [9]
CD for stabilizing enzyme
waste cooking oil lipase + β-CD 71–88% [10]
palm oil lipase + α-CD co-lyophilized 84–88% [11]

*CsPW: cesium salt of 12-tungstophosphoric acid: Cs2.5H0.5PW12O40

**Mo/MCM-4 mesoporous molecular sieve with Mo ions



  1. Zhang, G., He, L., Yuan, M., Li, H., Chang, T., Qin, S. Clean and Green Procedure for the Synthesis of Biodiesel from the esterification of free fatty acids and alcohol catalyzed by 6-O-(sulfobutyl)-β-cyclodextrin. Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry 2018, 91(7), 1123-1128
  2. Fu, X.-B., Chen, J., Song, X.-L., Zhang, Y.-M., Yang, J., Zhang, C.-W. Biodiesel production using a carbon solid acid catalyst derived from β-cyclodextrin. JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 2015, 92(4), 495-502
  3. Maneechakr, P., Samerjit, J., Uppakarnrod, S., Karnjanakom, S. Experimental design and kinetic study of ultrasonic assisted transesterification of waste cooking oil over sulfonated carbon catalyst derived from cyclodextrin. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 2015, 32, 128-136
  4. Chang, F., Zhou, Q., Pan, H., Liu, X., Zhang, H., Yang, S. Efficient production of biodiesel from Xanthium sibiricum Patr oil via supramolecular catalysis. Renewable Energy 2017, 111, 556-560
  5. Chang, F., Yan, C., Zhou, Q. Synthesis of a new copper-based supramolecular catalyst and its catalytic performance for biodiesel production. International Journal of Chemical Engineering 2018, 7452817
  6. Zou, C., Zhao, P., Shi, L., Huang, S., Luo, P. Biodiesel fuel production from waste cooking oil by the inclusion complex of heteropoly acid with bridged bis-cyclodextrin. Bioresource Technology 2013, 146, 785-788
  7. Pirouzmand, M., Mahdavi Anakhatoon, M. β-Cyclodextrin containing Co/MCM-41 as a catalyst for the production of biodiesel from waste cooking oil. Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy 2018, 37(5), 1770-1773
  8. Chang, F., Zhou, Q. Facile preparation of β-Cyclodextrin-Fe3O4 magnetic-Brønsted acidic ionic liquid for biodiesel production. Waste and Biomass Valorization 2018, in press
  9. Chang, F., Zhou, Q., & Zhou, L. Novel supramolecular alkaline ionic liquids–catalyzed heterogeneous transesterification of Xanthium sibiricum Patr oil to biodiesel. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects 2017. 39(13), 1377–1382.
  10. Nie, K., Wang, M., Zhang, X., Hu, W., Liu, L., Wang, F., Deng, L., Tan, T. Additives improve the enzymatic synthesis of biodiesel from waste oil in a solvent free system. Fuel 2015, 146, 13-19
  11. Boonmahome, P., Suwannasom, P., Leesing, R., Ruangviriyachai, C., Mongkolthanaruk, W. Characterization of serratia nematodiphila YM48 lipase as a biocatalyst in fatty acid methyl esters production. Walailak Journal of Science and Technology 2017, 14(3), 189-198

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