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Sagarkumar Yogesh Dhanuskar, Speaker at Catalysis Conference
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India
Title : Catalytic cracking of ricinoleic acid methyl esters to produces castor oil derivatives


The continuously increasing population and industrialization have triggered a demand for fossil fuels. Thus, rising demand resulted in an exponential increase in the amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and other gases produced during the consumption of non-renewable resources, which cause serious problems for health risks. This results in an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and spurs the search for a green path based on alternative energy sources that will alleviate the difficulties associated with Co2 emissions and so contribute global warming mitigation. A green energy source, castor oil is a sustainable feedstock for chemical process industries as it contains 56 wt.% of the seed. The presence of ricinoleic acid in castor oil is about approximately has made it more important than other edible and non-edible oils. This ricinoleic acid has a carboxylic acid, a double bond, and a secondary alcohol or hydroxyl group, which allows for the conversion or modification of castor oil into a variety of valuable derivatives products depending on the application. Due to the high viscosity of castor oil, catalytic cracking is very difficult, and the resulting products are uneconomical, affecting products recovery. As a result, the transesterification of castor oil provides a means of circumventing these problems. When subjected to the optimum temperature, castor oil methyl esters break from the hydroxyl position, forming heptaldehyde and methyl undecenoate. Specifically, heptaldehyde and methyl undecenoate are critical raw materials for the synthesis and production of value-added chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications, including foods, lubricants, plastics, rubber, electronics and telecommunications, cosmetics, perfumeries, and pharmaceuticals. The conversion of castor oil methyl ester was carried out in a micro fixed-bed reactor over Ni/HZSM-5. By Impregnating commercial HZSM-5 with nickel ion, the acid sites of Lewis were increased, and the concentration ratio of Bronsted acid and Lewis acids in the catalyst was improved. The greatest yields of heptaldehyde and methyl undecenoate were achieved using the Ni/HZSM-5 catalyst, at 27.5 and 43.8 wt.%, respectively. Additionally, Ni/HZSM-5 significantly decreased the catalyst coke concentration while enhancing the selectivity of the desired product yield. Ni/HZSM-5 zeolite displayed strong catalytic activity and a favourable nature for the efficient synthesis of high-valued chemicals from castor oil derivatives.

Audience take away:

  • The castor plant is adapted to a wide range of climates. The castor plant is monoecious and self-fertile, bearing numerous seed pods that develop on a raceme. While castor grows on agriculturally marginal lands and will produce some seed and oil without agricultural inputs, it benefits considerably from the inclu­sion of fertilizer. Since the main use of the castor plant is castor oil production, traits that enhance the oil content are of greatest interest.
  • Oleo-chemicals from Castor experience a meaningful pattern within the chemical industry. India, being a world leader in Castor seeds and Castor oil production and processing has edge over other countries like Japan, France and Germany who are importing castor oil and manufacturing these perfumery chemicals for further processing into perfumes and Synthetic flavors.
  • Growth in the world’s most developed markets will continue to be moderate, restrained by market maturity, consolidation in flavors and fragrances using industries and strong downward pressure on prices. Flavor and fragrance is looking for products from natural sources and prefer to use raw materials which are harmless and bio-degradable.
  • Working towards a substantial degree of price stability, eliminating frequent short term price volatility, in the first stage.
  • Leverage the country’s strengths to grab the opportunity of becoming a world class manufacturer of Value-Added Derivatives, serving consumers all over the world with end products.
  •  Establish direct contact with the end consumers, understand their specific applications and be of service through “solution selling” improving performance of consumers’ finished products.


Mr. Sagarkumar Yogesh Dhanuskar earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from RTMNU University, Nagpur in 2014 and 2016. The B.tech project was titled “Distillery wastewater treatment using a membrane bioreactor,” while the M.tech thesis was titled “Studies on cottonseed oil transesterification.” During internship at CSIR_NCL in Pune, he also worked on “Poly(I-lactide) ionomers.” A fourteen-month project at IIT Guwahati focused on “Suoerrcritical fluid extraction of natural antioxidants for food preservation from spices and non-convertional fruits endemic in the northeastern region”. He is now pursuing a doctorate at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, working on “Development of second and third generation  castor oil derivatives.”  with Prof. Kamal Kishore Pant and Prof. Satya Narayan Naik.