Catalytic Oxidation of Glycerol to High-Value Chemicals
Wenbin Hu and Arvind Varma. School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 480 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907
With increasing biodiesel production, large amounts of glycerol are obtained as byproduct, resulting in its price decrease from 43 to 10 cents/gallon in the last three years. Thus, it is important to find new ways to utilize glycerol, which we have used to produce dihydroxyacetone (DHA), valued at $20/lb, by catalytic oxidation. Various catalysts were tested to identify the one with the highest effectiveness. The catalytic kinetics are currently being obtained in both batch and flow reactors. The intrinsic kinetics will subsequently be utilized to develop a reactor model. After validation by comparing the calculated and experimental results, the model will be used to determine optimum reaction conditions for the maximum DHA yield, which in turn will be verified by experiments.