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Issue 7, 2011
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A catalytic route to lower alcohols from glycerol using Ni-supported catalysts

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Abstract

The activity of Ni-supported catalysts on silica and alumina was studied for the transformation of glycerol to lower alcohols, primarily 1-propanol and ethanol. Pressure had a small effect on glycerol conversion whereas temperature had a significant effect on conversion and selectivity. Ni/SiO2 gave quantitative conversion of glycerol at a lower temperature compared to Ni/Al2O3. Ni/SiO2 also gave a higher selectivity to ethanol and propanol (63%) compared to Ni/Al2O3 (52%) at a similar conversion. The higher activity of Ni/SiO2 can be ascribed to its smaller crystallite size ascertained from XRD analysis. The Ni/SiO2 catalyst also showed improved reducibility compared to Ni/Al2O3. The used catalyst showed sintering of the Ni, which was confirmed by a loss of surface area and average crystallite size. The route to lower alcohols from glycerol is proposed to occur via1,2-propanediol. Biomass is readily converted into biodiesel and glycerol and we have developed a route to convert glycerol into lower alcohols. We have therefore demonstrated that it is possible to convert biomass into biodiesel and lower alcohols (viaglycerol) from the same crop, thus reducing the need to produce ethanol from a separate government-subsidised crop.

Graphical abstract: A catalytic route to lower alcohols from glycerol using Ni-supported catalysts

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Nov 2010, accepted on 28 Mar 2011 and first published on 03 May 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0GC00839G
Green Chem., 2011,13, 1819-1827

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    A catalytic route to lower alcohols from glycerol using Ni-supported catalysts

    E. van Ryneveld, A. S. Mahomed, P. S. van Heerden, M. J. Green and H. B. Friedrich, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 1819
    DOI: 10.1039/C0GC00839G

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