Computational Insights into the Esterification of Palmitic Acid with Methanol in Water

Yun Feng, Yiding Ma, Tao Yu, Jingjiao Li
2022 Journal of Oleo Science  
This work provides quantified explanations for the thermodynamic and kinetic characteristics of esterification in aqueous phase, and how phase transfer catalysts improve water phase esterification of fatty acids in a computational-experimental way. Self-catalyzed reaction mode with or without solvation effects, water participated reaction mode, and catalytic reaction mode (catalyzed by p-dodecyl benzene sulfonic acid, DBSA) are discussed. Our results show that the initial self-catalytic
more » ... mode undergoes the energy barrier of 100.1 kJ/mol, and rises to 148.9 kJ/mol when water molecule is involved, which hinders the esterification reaction. With the DBSA catalyst, this energy barrier will drop to 97.5 kJ/mol and the water phase esterification is successfully promoted with the yield of 81%. The key kinetic factor of binding energy is discussed as that water molecule has a strong reactant binding competitiveness (with the binding energy of -57.9 kJ/mol, and the value for the non-aqueous phase mode is 3.0 kJ/mol) and DBSA has the binding energy with the value of -45.3 kJ/mol, so it can compete with water to form reactant complexes. This work is a successful practice of a computation-experiment combined scheme, and provides a quantitative basis for the improvement of phase transfer catalysts on water phase esterification reactions. The calculation mode and method of aqueous esterification make it possible to convert bio-based fatty acids into fatty acid esters in fermentation broth.
doi:10.5650/jos.ess22174 pmid:36198584 fatcat:hss55nujgbgihbn2karqcx4q2u