Solid State Reaction of Serpentinite Mg3Si2O5(OH)4 with NaOH to Produce a New Basic Catalytic Phase Na2Mg2Si2O7 for Biodiesel Production

Solid state reaction of serpentinite Mg3Si2O5(OH)4 with NaOH was investigated to produce new NaMgSi oxide phases with basic properties for application in catalysis. X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) showed that NaOH impregnated on serpentinite, specially 20% sodium and treated at 700 ºC (20Na700), led to the formation of a new crystalline phase Na2Mg2Si2O7. This solid state reaction is discussed in terms of a first step involving Na+ diffusion and intercalation in the interlayer space of the serpentinite structure followed by a dihydroxylation and formation of the NaMgSi oxides. Temperature programmed reaction and desorption experiments with 20Na700 combined with XRD suggested a strong basicity with high CO2 uptake likely due to diffusion and interaction with the basic sites in the material structure. These materials were tested as catalysts for the transesterification of soybean oil with methanol. The obtained results are discussed in terms of a basic site Si-O-Na+ present in the in the Na2Mg2Si2O7 structure.