Waste vegetable oils as a sustainable, low-cost and low-toxicity feedstock are attracting more interests for the production of oleochemicals that are excellent substitutes for petroleum-based chemicals widely used in the petroleum industry. The compounds resulting from transesterification-epoxidation-sulfonation of waste vegetable oils have great potential as bio-based surface active agents with extensive application in the petroleum industry. The oleo-surfactant from vegetable oils is gaining increasing attention as alternative to the costlier and non-biodegradable petrochemical-based surfactants currently in use. This chapter reports on cost-effective processes to convert waste palm oil into high-grade surfactants aiming at its filed application in petroleum production to enhance recovery of crude oils from reservoir. The first section focused on the formulation of a high-performance bifunctional solid catalyst with basic and acidic sites that are able to mediate simultaneous esterification and transesterification reactions. In the second part, the methyl esters were epoxidized and then sulfonated to produce the anionic surfactant. The feedstock and the methyl ester produced were analyzed with gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometer (GC-MS) and the sulfonated functional group (S═O) was detected using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis.
Part of the book: Palm Oil