Valorisation of Glycerol to Fine Chemicals and Fuels

Valorisation of Glycerol to Fine Chemicals and Fuels

Nikolaos Dimitratos (Cardiff University, UK), Alberto Villa (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Carine E. Chan-Thaw (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Ceri Hammond (Cardiff University, UK) and Laura Prati (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9975-5.ch013
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The selective transformation of biomass-derived compounds to useful fine chemicals and fuels has developed rapidly in recent years, and biomass compounds will soon become one of the main resource contributors for the production of chemicals. In the near future, it is expected that biomass derived compounds will contribute substantially to global chemical production along with fossil-based analogues. Although, there is still debate about the sustainability of the usage of biomass-derived molecules, it is important to emphasise that effort has been made to use biomass in the most efficient way, and that the biomass resources used are not suitable for food purposes. In this review we will focus to present selected examples on the transformation of glycerol in three distinct areas; (i) glycerol oxidation, (ii) glycerol hydrogenolysis and (iii) glycerol aqueous reforming, using supported metal nanoparticles as the chosen catalysts.
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2. Selective Oxidation Of Glycerol

The valorisation of glycerol is an emerging area that has been extensively studied in recent years (Chheda, Huber, & Dumesic, 2007; Rahmat, Abdullah, & Mohamed, 2010; Zhou, Beltramini, Fan, & Lu, 2008), with a large body of this research focusing on the oxidation of glycerol to fine chemical products. The selective oxidation of glycerol can provide a range of useful fine chemical products used in pharmaceutical and perfume industry (Figure 2). A range of the presented catalysts developed for this oxidation are often also used to for the oxidation of interrelated polyols such as ethylene glycol, 1,2-propanediol (Dimitratos, Lopez-Sanchez, Meenakshisundaram, et al., 2009; Prati & Rossi, 1998) and 1,3-propanediol (Dimitratos, Lopez-Sanchez, Meenakshisundaram, et al., 2009; Biella, Castiglioni, Fumagalli, Prati, & Rossi, 2002; Taarning, Madsen, Marchetti, Egeblad, & Christensen, 2008).

Figure 1.

Processes of catalytic conversion of glycerol into useful chemicals

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