Recently, several studies performed by the research group have evaluated the effectiveness of ethanol in extraction and refining process in the vegetable oil industry. In fact, ethanol combines a good extraction ability, selectivity, easy recovery, and low toxicity. In the last decade, pure ionic liquids (ILs) or mixtures of ILs and other solvents have also been evaluated in the improvement of the extraction yield of biocompounds of interest for food industry. This potential offers several possibilities in the conception of new methods of extraction and optimization. Associated with the production of vegetable oils, ethanol has also been used in the production of biodiesel. In fact, in the context of an integrated biorefinery, the use of ethanol in extraction and refining process as well as in the production of biodiesel can be an economical and sustainable alternative. However, the use of some catalysts may lead to technical disadvantages, such as soap formation and low glycerol recovery. Similarly what occurs in extraction processes, ILs have also shown interesting results in order to mitigate these operational problems and improving the yields. In addition, they can promote the reduction of biodiesel melting temperature, which is interesting to enable the production of biodiesel with high content of saturated compounds. This work, therefore, aims at the evaluation of the integrated use of ethanol and ILs in extraction and refining processes of vegetable oils and for biodiesel production from these sources, by the evaluation of the phase equilibrium behavior of the systems involved in these processes. In addition, this works aims at the evaluation of the effect of ionic liquids on the physical properties: viscosity, density, and melting temperature of the bioproducts generated. These data will provide important information for mitigation the problems associated with these alternative processes, in order to improve their economic viability and less environmental impact.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: