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 derivative currently produced as a by-product in the manufacture of biodiesel in a huge amount close to 10 wt% of the overall biodiesel production. The 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 into 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 is currently produced in the petrochemical industry via two-step gas-phase oxidation of propylene. The depletion of fossil resources motivates developments in the production of acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. Glycerol has potential for use as a raw material for the production of acrylic acid, and the variety of glycerol derivatives provides opportunities for producing acrylic acid from glycerol through different ways. In this review, 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.