In this study free fatty acids present in Azadirachta indica (Neem) oil were esterified with our synthesized phosphoric acid modified catalyst. During the esterification, the acid value was reduced from 24.4 to 1.8 mg KOH/g oil. Synthesized catalyst was characterized by NH(3) TPD, XRD, SEM, FTIR and TGA analysis. During phosphoric acid modification hydrophobic character and weak acid sites of the mordenite were increased, which lead to better esterification when compared to H-mordenite. A kinetic study demonstrates that the esterification reaction followed pseudo-first order kinetics. Thermodynamic studies were also done based on the Arrhenius model.
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