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.