Waste oil for biodiesel synthesis

Alkoxides for Biodiesel

Among alternative energy sources, biodiesel, made from a mix of diverse resources such as recycled cooking oil is a bridging technology on the road to sustainable mobility. We have accompanied the development of biodiesel since the start of commercial production. In addition to traditional feedstocks, we focus on second-generation raw materials. These include above all Jatropha curcas or algae, whose harvest does not compete with food cultivation.

In many countries, blending biodiesel with fossil diesel is mandatory. The green fuel is biodegradable, non-toxic, poses no threat to drinking water and can be used in existing diesel engines. As a result, fewer greenhouse gases and soot are emitted, which significantly improves the energy balance. In addition, biodiesel is not a hazardous material, which makes it easier to transport, store and handle. Biodiesel is characterized by excellent lubricity and is also gentle on the vehicle engine.

The key benefits of biodiesel at a glance

  • Reduced CO2 emissions up to 67%
  • Reduces greenhouse gases by up to 86% over the entire life cycle 
  • Lower soot amounts in exhaust gas
  • Biodiesel is not a hazardous material
  • Biodiesel is biodegradable
  • Less energy requirement and lower costs through transesterification

Our alkoxide product portfolio is tailored to the special requirements of the manufacture and use of modern, high-tech fuel. We offer:

  • Alkoxides as catalysts for efficient transesterification
  • Anti-foaming agents for effective use of biodiesel blends
  • Flow improvers for outstanding low-temperature properties in all regions in all seasons
  • Special polyamide 12 for special, durable automotive components
  • Process engineering consulting



Due to their molecular structure, vegetable oils are not suitable for use as fuel in conventional diesel engines. Vegetable and animal fats consist of triglycerides, that is, the combination of the trivalent alcohol glycerol with three fatty acids. If the glycerol is replaced with methanol, the viscous vegetable oil is transformed into a fuel with excellent flow characteristics: biodiesel.

And all it takes is a simple chemical reaction called transesterification, which involves mixing methanol with a small quantity of an alkaline catalyst which provides cost savings and performance and selectivity that provides a good biodiesel yield. The most effective catalysts are the metal alkoxide catalyst sodium methylate in the form of a 30% solution in methanol (NM 30) and potassium methylate in the form of a 32% solution in methanol (KM 32), both from Evonik.

In addition to the main product, biodiesel, transesterification also yields glycerol as a valuable byproduct.

transesterification of biodiesel with sodium methylate and potassium methylate
Sodium methylate and potassium methylate are effective catalysts in the transesterification process that produces biodiesel.

Our Catalysts


Application / Requirements of Raw Materials


  • The leading component in the transesterification of vegetable oils
  • Water content max. 0.1%


  • For basic oils with an FFA (free fatty acids) content higher than 1.0%
  • F.e. recycled cooking oils and animal fats
  • Water content max. 0.1%


Both catalysts can be used in anhydrous production processes in a closed circuit directly from the storage tank without any additional intermediary steps. This reduces the risks associated with handling alkoxides to an absolute minimum.