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High yields, efficient, simple processing

        Sodium methylate functions as a catalyst to accelerate the biodiesel chemical reaction process by reducing the energy needed to initiate the reaction. It is successfully used in large-scale production facilities for all major feedstocks like virgin vegetable oils, animal fat and/or yellow grease. The major advantage of sodium methylate is the virtually water-free character of the catalyst solution. This results in higher yields, lower purification costs and more consistent biodiesel quality. When mixing traditional hydroxides with methanol, hazardous solid handling is inevitable, and as a result, water is generated that will initiate unwanted side reactions.
        We can apply benefits of using sodium methoxide instead hydroxides. These advantages make it obvious why most producers rely on sodium methylate, especially since it has proven its favorable effects over the hydroxides in many reference plants. A 2004 NREL study, titled Biodiesel Production Technology, compared several catalysts including sodium methylate. The report concluded that sodium methylate, as a 25 percent solution in methanol, was a more powerful catalyst on a weight basis than a mixture of caustic soda and methanol. Another study titled Integrated Biodiesel Production: A Comparison of Different Homogeneous Catalysts Systems, conducted by the University of Madrid in 2004, found similar results. That study compared the effectiveness of sodium methylate, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide in a reaction of sunflower oil and methanol.
        Although all of the catalysts produce a high-quality biodiesel product, the SMO catalyst provides the highest yield of biodiesel. Since feedstock costs of the vegetable oil or other triglyceride sources account for most of the variable cost of biodiesel production (up to 90 percent), a higher yield of a few percent usually translates into substantial savings that more than compensate for the higher catalyst cost.