Esters are organic compounds characterised by the RCOOR’ functional group, and are most commonly derived from the reaction of carboxylic acids with alcohols.
In this process, the hydrogen from the acid’s carboxylic group (COOH) is replaced by the hydrocarbon section (R’) of the alcohol molecule. The reaction products are the ester and water:
Johnson Matthey's DAVY™ esterification technology reacts liquid phase carboxylic acids with alcohol to produce a variety of non-acidic esters. The reactor uses proprietary reaction trays and catalysts to get a very close approach to equilibrium. DAVY licensed processes that use this technology include natural detergent alcohol (NDA), butanediol (BDO), tetrahydrofuran (THF), γ-butyrolactone (GBL), n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) and biodiesel.