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Open AccessArticle

Selective Oxidation of Crude Glycerol to Dihydroxyacetone in a Biphasic Photoreactor

Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3E5, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2020, 10(4), 360;
Received: 3 March 2020 / Revised: 21 March 2020 / Accepted: 22 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in TiO2 Photocatalysts)
In this paper, the first biphasic photoreactor was introduced and utilized for the conversion of glycerol to glyceraldehyde (GAD) and dihydroxyacetone (DHA) using water and ethyl acetate as dispersed (active) and continuous (inactive) phases, respectively. Increasing the ethyl acetate content in the reactor improved the DHA yield; however, the optimal DHA selectivity was obtained at an ethyl acetate to water ratio of 90:10 (vol/vol). Compared to a monophasic photoreactor containing only water and identical amounts of glycerol and photocatalyst, the biphasic reactor containing 90 vol % ethyl acetate increased the DHA yield by a factor of 2.9 (from 4.5% to 13%) and the concentration of DHA by approximately 14 times (from 0.08 mM to 1.1 mM) after 240 min. Additionally, photocatalytic conversion of crude glycerol extracted using a 90:10 (vol/vol) ethyl acetate-water mixture showed a similar DHA conversion and yield to that of pure glycerol.
Keywords: photoreactor; photocatalysis; two-phase; glycerol; solar-to-chemical; dihydroxyacetone photoreactor; photocatalysis; two-phase; glycerol; solar-to-chemical; dihydroxyacetone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Imbault, A.L.; Farnood, R. Selective Oxidation of Crude Glycerol to Dihydroxyacetone in a Biphasic Photoreactor. Catalysts 2020, 10, 360.

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