Biomass Valorization

Hydro-deoxygenation of Biomass Derived Polyols

Our research efforts on the valorization of biomass derived intermediates to value added chemicals focus on the conversion of glycerol, one of the top-twelve building block chemicals and major by-product of the biodiesel industry.The development of new heterogeneous catalysts active at low temperature, selective towards the formation of the target product and stable in liquid environments are the main objectives of the work. Target products include: 1,2-propanediol (propylene glycol) while, in a newly started research activity the unsaturated C2-C3 hydrocarbons (Scheme 1).



Scheme 1. Glycerol utilization to value added products

Experimental work is directed towards the development of metal based catalysts, their main physicochemical characterization employing microscopy and temperature programmed techniques, evaluation of the performance in the reactions under study using high pressure batch reactors and kinetic studies. The work is complimented with specially designed tests using intermediate products to explore reaction pathways.

Glycerol Hydro-deoxygenation to Propene

A novel process is explored for one-step glycerol conversion to propene, over Molybdena-based catalysts. Via Hydro-deoxygenation reactions, glycerol is converted into 2-propenol, which is subsequently hydrogenated to form propene. (Scheme 2)

Scheme 2. Glycerol Hydro-deoxygenation to propene

Glycerol Hydro-deoxygenation to Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is formed efficiently using bio-glycerol feedstock via Hydro-deoxygenation reaction with H2 formed in situ by a novel reaction cycle. (Scheme 3)

Scheme 3. Glycerol Hydro-deoxygenation propylene glycol