Natural dolomitic rock has been investigated in the transesterification of C-4 and C-8 triglycerides and olive oil with a view to determining its viability as a solid base catalyst for use in biodiesel synthesis. XRD reveals that the dolomitic rock comprised 77% dolomite and 23% magnesian calcite. The generation of basic sites requires calcination at 900 degrees C, which increases the surface area and transforms the mineral into MgO nanocrystallites dispersed over CaO particles. Calcined dolomitic rock exhibits high activity towards the liquid phase transesterification of glyceryl tributyrate and trioctanoate, and even olive oil, with methanol for biodiesel production.
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