Background: Increasing environmental pollution generated by fossil fuel consumption has intensified the consumption and development of renewable fuels.
Objective: Thus, the aim of this work was to investigate the use of heterogeneous catalysts (SBA- 15 and Al-SBA-15) for the transesterification of soybean oil to produce biodiesel.
Methods: The pore size and surface acidity of SBA-15 were modified by the addition of heterogeneous Al atoms. Samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Nitrogen adsorption, Scanning electron microscopy, Infrared Spectroscopy, and Thermogravimetry.
Results: Results of the characterization study evidenced that a large amount of mesopore and surface acidity can significantly improve the transesterification reaction with the incorporation of aluminum into the SBA-15 framework. The best results were obtained with a 24 h reaction time and Al-SBA-15. The transesterification reaction of soybean oil with ethanol during 24 h showed in this work presented an efficient conversion of 85.5% with SBA-15 catalyst and 96.5% with the Al- SBA-15 catalyst.