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Upgrading the Glycerol from Biodiesel Production as a Source of Energy Carriers and Chemicals—A Technological Review for Three Chemical Pathways

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INIAV, Ministry of Agriculture, 2780-159 Oeiras, Portugal
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MARETEC—Research Center, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
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CERENA—Centre for Natural Resources and the Environment, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2017, 10(11), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111817
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
Glycerol is a by-product of biodiesel obtained from biomass, accounting for 10% of the biodiesel production. In the context of a green economy, aiming for a reduction of the emission of atmospheric greenhouse gases emissions, the demand of biodiesel is expected to increase vastly, in parallel with a side glut supply of glycerol. Given the high cost of biodiesel compared with its fossil congener, upgrading of glycerol into added-value products can represent a secondary income source and turn the production of such alternative fuels economically sustainable in the long term. The glycerol obtained as by-product of biodiesel from biomass is in a crude form and must be purified. Some industrial solutions and applications were therein geared. The survey presented in this work, based on a reviewing of the existing literature, examines three routes for the valuing glycerol into energy carriers and chemicals, namely, carbonation, acylation, and steam reforming to hydrogen. The latter is embodied of great interest and importance, insofar that hydrogen by itself is considered as straighforward clean fuel for transportation uses, due to its high calorific power and to recent advances in fuel cells. We also have focused on the chain value from biomass to energies carriers through these pathways. View Full-Text
Keywords: glycerol; purification; upgrading; carbonates; acetins; steam reforming; energy carriers; review; biomass glycerol; purification; upgrading; carbonates; acetins; steam reforming; energy carriers; review; biomass
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Rodrigues, A.; Bordado, J.C.; Santos, R.G. Upgrading the Glycerol from Biodiesel Production as a Source of Energy Carriers and Chemicals—A Technological Review for Three Chemical Pathways. Energies 2017, 10, 1817.

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