Currently, due to the continuous growth of the world’s population, there is a higher energy demand in both the industrial and domestic sectors, but it also results in an increase in public awareness about pollution and overuse of fossil fuels. This has led to a rise of interest in the research for alternative renewable energy sources. Amongst the various options for renewable energies for road transportation, biodiesel is the most fit for petrodiesel replacement. In terms of biodiesel production for industrial applications, homogeneous catalysts, such as NaOH, KOH, H2SO4 and HCl are usually preferred, but their removal is rather complex and sometimes results in creating pollutants, bringing extra cost to the final product. Considering heterogeneous catalysts for transesterification reaction, both solid acid and solid base catalysts can solve the biodiesel purification problems homogeneous catalysts have. On the other hand, using heterogeneous catalysts is, for the time being, somewhat time consuming, still inefficient, and present some mass transfer limitations. One solution to this problem might be the use of nanocatalysts, as new heterogeneous catalysts. This paper reviews the literature on transesterification reaction using heterogeneous basic and acidic catalysts as well as nanocatalysts and their multiple methods of synthesis.
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