Glycerol as a potential renewable raw material for acrylic acid production
Production of fuels and chemicals from renewable biomass resources is an attractive way to alleviate the shortage of fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emission. Glycerol is an important biomass derivate currently produced as a by-product in the manufacture of biodiesel with a huge amount close to 10 wt.% of the overall biodiesel production. Application of glycerol as a renewable raw material has attracted much attention in the last decade, and some catalytic technologies for the conversion of glycerol to useful chemicals such as methanol, epichlorohydrin, and 1,2-propanediol have been established. Acrylic acid is an important bulk chemical widely used in the manufacture of polymeric products, and it is currently produced in petrochemical industry via two-step gas-phase oxidation of propylene. The depletion of fossil resources motivates the development in the production of acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. Glycerol has the potential as a raw material for the production of acrylic acid, and the variety of glycerol derivatives provide opportunities for producing acrylic acid from glycerol through different ways. In this review, the possible routes and the corresponding catalytic technologies for the conversion of glycerol to acrylic acid are primarily summarized, and the advantages as well as the challenges in each route are discussed.