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Multi-function catalysts for glycerol upgrading
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4162-3680
Biofuel-Solution AB, Limhamn .
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the last three years Biofuel-Solution, a privately held Swedish entity, has developed an IP-portfolio around gas-phase glycerol conversion into medium-value chemicals. The targeted chemicals have large to very large markets, to allow for use by more than a fraction of the glycerol available today without impacting the cost of the product. The reason behind is that glycerol is a by-product from the biofuel industry, including biodiesel and bioethanol. This indicates large production volumes, even though the glycerol is a fraction of the fuel produced. A by-product from any fuel process will be vast and therefore any chemical produced from this side-product will have to have a large market to offset it to. In order to avoid changing the fundamental market behavior, similar to what the biodiesel industry has done to the glycerol market.

In the course of this work, several end-products have been targeted. These include plastic monomers, mono-alcohols and energy gases; using acrolein as a common starting point. To produce chemicals with high purity and efficiency, selective and active catalysts are required. For instance, a process for producing propionaldehyde and n-propanol has been developed to the point of demonstration and commercialization building on the gas-phase platform.

By developing multi-function catalysts which perform more than one task simultaneously, synergies can be reached that cannot be achieved with traditional catalysts. For instance, by combining catalyst functionalities, reactions that are both endothermic and exothermic can be performed simultaneously.

This mean lower inlet reactor temperatures (in this particular case) and a more even temperature distribution. By performing the dehydration of glycerol to acrolein in combination with another, exothermal reaction by-products can be suppressed and yields increased.

It also means that new reaction pathways can be achieved, allowing for new ways to produce chemicals and fuels from glycerol. As in the case of ethane production from acrolein, where a catalyst surface has been devised where acrolein is first adsorbed. The actual mechanism is unknown but in speculation, the adsorbed acrolein is decarbonyled into ethylene and carbon monoxide on a first reaction site. The formed carbon monoxide diffuses to another active site, where it reacts with water through the so called water-gas shift reaction to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Said carbon dioxide leaves as an end-product, and the hydrogen diffuses to another active site where it reacts with ethylene to form ethane. This gives a way of producing energy gases from glycerol in a very compact reactor set-up, effectively reducing footprint and capital cost and increasing productivity of an installation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Keywords [en]
glycerol, acrolein, propanoic aldehyde, multi-function catalyst
National Category
Chemical Engineering Energy Engineering Chemical Process Engineering
Research subject
Technology (byts ev till Engineering), Bioenergy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-7974OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-7974DiVA, id: diva2:346348
Conference
CHISA 2010-19th International Congress of Chemical and Process Engineering CHISA 2010 and the 7th European Congress of Chemical Engineering ECCE-7,
Available from: 2010-08-31 Created: 2010-08-31 Last updated: 2015-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Brandin, Jan

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