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Issue 5, 2010
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Acetalisation of bio-glycerol with acetone to produce solketal over sulfonic mesostructured silicas

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Abstract

Sulfonic acid-functionalized mesostructured silicas have demonstrated excellent catalytic behaviour in the acetalisation of glycerol with acetone to yield 2,2-dimethyl-1,3-dioxolane-4-methanol, also known as solketal. This molecule constitutes an excellent compound for the formulation of gasoline, diesel and biodiesel fuels. The activity achieved with arenesulfonic acid-functionalized silica is comparable to that displayed by Amberlyst-15. Optimal production of solketal over arenesulfonic acid mesostructured silica has been established for a reaction system consisting of three consecutive 2-step batches (30 min under reflux and an evaporation step under vacuum), and using a 6/1 acetone/glycerol molar ratio. The use of lower grades of glycerol, such as technical (purity of 91.6 wt%) and crude (85.8 wt%) glycerol, has also provided high conversions of glycerol over sulfonic acid-modified heterogeneous catalysts (84% and 81%, respectively). For refined and technical glycerol the catalysts have been reused, without any regeneration treatment, up to three times, keeping the high initial activity. However, the high sodium content in crude glycerol deactivates the sulfonic acid sites by cation exchange. This deactivation is readily reversed by simple acidification of the catalyst after reaction.

Graphical abstract: Acetalisation of bio-glycerol with acetone to produce solketal over sulfonic mesostructured silicas

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Nov 2009, accepted on 19 Feb 2010 and first published on 22 Mar 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B923681C
Citation: Green Chem., 2010,12, 899-907
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    Acetalisation of bio-glycerol with acetone to produce solketal over sulfonic mesostructured silicas

    G. Vicente, J. A. Melero, G. Morales, M. Paniagua and E. Martín, Green Chem., 2010, 12, 899
    DOI: 10.1039/B923681C

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