Special Issue "Glycerol Conversion by Heterogeneous Catalysis"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2017

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Chunbao (Charles) Xu

Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Western University, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: lignin; lignocellulosic biomass; biorefinery; thermo-chemical conversion; catalytic processes; bioenergy; biofuels; bio-based chemicals/materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although the plunge in crude oil prices in recent years has caused a downfall in bio-diesel production, it had increased dramatically in different parts of the world, resulting in a large amount of glycerol as byproduct from the process. The increased amount of glycerol in the market had become a burden to the biodiesel producers who have limited options for managing this byproduct. Valorization of glycerol is thus needed to enhance the sustainability of the biodiesel industry.

Glycerol, the simplest tri-hydroxy alcohol has many potential applications. The multi-functionality of glycerol makes it a promising precursor for the production of high-value bio-renewable fuel/chemical products through various processes involving heterogeneous catalysis, e.g., esterification, etherification, oxidation, dehydration, acetalization, hydrogenolysis, chlorination and catalytic reforming. The glycerol-derived fuel/chemical products include liquid/gaseous fuels, fuel additives (e.g., solketal) and chemicals (e.g., glycerol mono-esters, glyceric acid, 1,3-dihydroxyacetone (DHA), epichlorohydrin, glycidol, tartronic acid, lactic acid, acrylonitrile, 1,2-propanediol and1,3-propanediol, etc.). The main challenge in catalytic conversion of glycerol in batch or continuous-flow processes is associated with deactivation of catalysts over time. Catalyst deactivation over time is the main issue in most reported processes for glycerol conversion. Thus, intense research is underway to develop catalysts of high activity and superb stability.

This Special Issue aims to cover recent progress and trends in conversion of glycerol into high-value bio-renewable fuel/chemical products through heterogeneous catalysis, including the designing, synthesizing, characterizing and evaluating heterogeneous catalysts for glycerol conversion.

Prof. Dr. Chunbao (Charles) Xu
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Arenesulfonic Acid-Functionalized Bentonite as Catalyst in Glycerol Esterification with Acetic Acid
Catalysts 2017, 7(7), 211; doi:10.3390/catal7070211
Received: 13 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
The present study is focused on the synthesis of arenesulfonic acid-functionalized bentonite as a catalyst to produce monoacetin, diacetin, and triacetin from glycerol and acetic acid using toluene as solvent and a water removing agent. The best conditions for the present reaction with
[...] Read more.
The present study is focused on the synthesis of arenesulfonic acid-functionalized bentonite as a catalyst to produce monoacetin, diacetin, and triacetin from glycerol and acetic acid using toluene as solvent and a water removing agent. The best conditions for the present reaction with acetic acid were an acetic acid:glycerol:toluene molar ratio of 7:1:1.4, 100 °C, and 0.074 wt % of catalyst (based on the total weight of glycerol). Under the reaction conditions, 96% glycerol conversion was achieved within 0.5 h from the start of the reaction. The maximum selectivity of 66% and 74% were achieved for diacetin and triacetin after 0.5 and 3 h of reaction, respectively, without formation of any byproduct. The arenesulfonic acid-functionalized bentonite was characterized by X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, N2 adsorption/desorption experiments (Brunauer, Emmett and Teller, BET, method), field emission scanning electron microscopy, and the surface acidity was determined by back titration. Without significant treatment, the catalyst was reusable for 5 consecutive runs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycerol Conversion by Heterogeneous Catalysis)
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Open AccessArticle Selective Hydrogenolysis of Glycerol and Crude Glycerol (a By-Product or Waste Stream from the Biodiesel Industry) to 1,2-Propanediol over B2O3 Promoted Cu/Al2O3 Catalysts
Catalysts 2017, 7(7), 196; doi:10.3390/catal7070196
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 25 June 2017
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Abstract
The performance of boron oxide (B2O3)-promoted Cu/Al2O3 catalyst in the selective hydrogenolysis of glycerol and crude glycerol (a by-product or waste stream from the biodiesel industry) to produce 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PDO) was investigated. The catalysts were characterized
[...] Read more.
The performance of boron oxide (B2O3)-promoted Cu/Al2O3 catalyst in the selective hydrogenolysis of glycerol and crude glycerol (a by-product or waste stream from the biodiesel industry) to produce 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PDO) was investigated. The catalysts were characterized using N2-adsorption-desorption isotherm, Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), X-ray diffraction (XRD), ammonia temperature programmed desorption (NH3-TPD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), temperature programmed reduction (TPR), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Incorporation of B2O3 to Cu/Al2O3 was found to enhance the catalytic activity. At the optimum condition (250 °C, 6 MPa H2 pressure, 0.1 h−1 WHSV (weight hourly space velocity), and 5Cu-B/Al2O3 catalyst), 10 wt% aqueous solution of glycerol was converted into 1,2-PDO at 98 ± 2% glycerol conversion and 98 ± 2% selectivity. The effects of temperature, pressure, boron addition amount, and liquid hourly space velocity were studied. Different grades of glycerol (pharmaceutical, technical, or crude glycerol) were used in the process to investigate the stability and resistance to deactivation of the selected 5Cu-B/Al2O3 catalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycerol Conversion by Heterogeneous Catalysis)
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Open AccessArticle Catalytic Acetalization: An Efficient Strategy for High-Value Utilization of Biodiesel-Derived Glycerol
Catalysts 2017, 7(6), 184; doi:10.3390/catal7060184
Received: 27 March 2017 / Revised: 24 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
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Abstract
In this study, an efficient process for high value utilization of biodiesel-derived glycerol was proposed via a simple reaction of acetalization catalyzed by novel catalysts of ester sulfate-functionalized ionic liquids (ILs). The relationship between the IL structure and its catalytic activity was investigated.
[...] Read more.
In this study, an efficient process for high value utilization of biodiesel-derived glycerol was proposed via a simple reaction of acetalization catalyzed by novel catalysts of ester sulfate-functionalized ionic liquids (ILs). The relationship between the IL structure and its catalytic activity was investigated. The effects of reaction conditions, and the substrate adaptability, were also carefully studied. The results demonstrate that ester sulfate-functionalized IL shows excellent catalytic activity on the acetalization of glycerol with aldehyde (ketone). Under the optimized condition, 87% glycerol conversion was obtained with 99% acetal selectivity when glycerol was condensed with cyclohexanone. In particular, 29% of product consists of six-membered compound, an important fine chemical and an excellent precursor in organic chemistry, because of the significant steric-hindrance effect of IL catalyst. Furthermore, the IL catalyst shows good recyclability where insignificant activity loss was exhibited even after six runs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycerol Conversion by Heterogeneous Catalysis)
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