The Future of Glycerol


By-products of global biodiesel manufacturing are a global fact and the immense amount of glycerol by-product stacking unsold until mid 2005 gave a visual image of the huge loss of energy and material resources. This was due to the lack of suitable conversion processes for this, the oldest organic molecule known to man, despite various experiments by some biodiesel producers. The large surplus of glycerol by-product which entered the chemical market has caused closure of existing glycerol plants and the discovery...

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By-products of global biodiesel manufacturing are a global fact and the immense amount of glycerol by-product stacking unsold until mid 2005 gave a visual image of the huge loss of energy and material resources. This was due to the lack of suitable conversion processes for this, the oldest organic molecule known to man, despite various experiments by some biodiesel producers. The large surplus of glycerol by-product which entered the chemical market has caused closure of existing glycerol plants and the discovery of processes that use glycerol as a raw material for the production of value-added chemicals and even of energy. This was followed by 3-4 years of intense research activity worldwide, where human chemical ingenuity opened up a number of practical avenues to convert glycerol into value added products of mass consumption. For instance, the batteries of your laptop and iPod, as well as your car's antifreeze will soon be based on glycerol, the same sweet viscous substance currently present in soaps. Reporting and commenting on such achievements this book aims to inform chemistry professionals, including managers and technologists, on the large potential of glycerol as versatile biofeedstock for the production of a variety of chemicals, polymers and fuels. Whilst filling a gap in the current literature, this nicely illustrated book is written in a clear, concise style and presents the numerous uses of glycerol as a new raw material which are starting to have an impact on industry worldwide. Elucidation of the principles governing the new chemistry of glycerol goes along with updated industrial information that is generally difficult to retrieve. Through its 10 chapters, the monograph tells the story of a chemical success — that of converting glycerol into value added products — and highlight the principles that made it possible. Whether as solvent, antifreeze, detergent, monomer for textiles or drug, new catalytic conversions of glycerol have been discovered that are finding application for the synthesis of products whose use range from everyday life to the fine chemical industry. Readers are also shown how a number of practical limitations posed by glycerol chemistry, such as the low selectivity encountered employing traditional stoichiometric and older catalytic conversions, were actually solved based on the understanding of the fundamental chemistry of glycerol and by application of catalysis science and technology. Readers also find a thorough discussion on the sustainability issues of bioglycerol production covering societal, environmental and economic dimensions to reflect the needs of politicians and citizens of today who require cross border research. By explaining the advantages and problems as well as offering solutions the book aids understanding as to whether biodiesel and glycerol refineries are convenient and economically sound. Chemical research on glycerol has shown that given a strong economic input, chemists are able to rapidly devise a whole set of new upgrading processes for the biorefinery and that the latter integrated unity for production energy and chemicals is not just dream of environmentally-minded scientists but an inevitable reality of today. Due to the ever decreasing energy return on energy invested, global society is being forced to switch from fossil to renewable fuels until cheap and abundant energy of solar origin becomes a reality. In this evolution, biofuels, particularly biodiesel, will certainly play a role and therefore, glycerol will be a key raw material for the biorefinery for many years to come. The book's users include industry's top managers and management consultants and also R&D and marketing managers. Along with technical content of a high quality, this is also a strategic book for top managers of the chemical, biofuel, oleochemical and detergent industries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
""...comprehensive review of the established and most recent developments in the chemistry of glycerol.""

""this book presents a short and nearly comprehensive overview of the established and more recent developments in the chemistry of glycerol.""

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849730464
  • Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry, The
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Series: RSC Green Chemistry Series, #8
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Pagliaro is a chemistry scholar based at Palermo's CNR where he leads Sicily's Photovoltaics Research Pole. The achievements of his Laboratory are reported in a large body of research papers spanning many fields of contemporary chemical research. Some discoveries of his Lab are at the origin of new, diverse successful commercial products. Mario has co-authored many bestselling books, including Flexible Solar Cells and Silica-Based Materals. He has a prolonged interest in management and in science methodology and is often cited for his excellence in teaching. His website is Michele Rossi holds a chair of inorganic chemistry at the University of Milan. He graduated in industrial chemistry at the University of Milan in 1963 at Professor Malatesta's school. In 1974 he became Professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Bari and in 1988 he returned to Milan. His research, documented in more than 150 papers and several patents, is focused on metal-based catalysis and has led to important results in the activation of small molecules for catalytic applications and to the discovery of nitrogen fixation.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors xiv

Acknowledgements xvi

Chapter 1 Glycerol: Properties and Production 1

1.1 Properties of Glycerol 1

1.2 Traditional Commercial Applications 6

1.3 Production of Bioglycerol and Commercial Trends 10

1.4 Glycerol as Solvent in Organic Reactions 20

1.5 Bioglycerol Purification 23

References 25

Chapter 2 Reforming 29

2.1 Glycerol as a Platform for Green Fuels 29

2.2 Production of Hydrogen via Aqueous Phase Reforming 32

2.3 Production of Hydrocarbon Fuels via Aqueous Phase Reforming 36

2.4 Industrial Applications 40

References 42

Chapter 3 Selective Reduction 45

3.1 Reduction of Glycerol 45

3.2 Hydrogenolysis to Propylene Glycol 45

3.3 Dehydroxylation to 1,3-Propanediol 50

3.4 Biological reduction to PDO 51

3.5 Commercial Applications 53

References 56

Chapter 4 Chlorination 59

4.1 Chlorination of Glycerol 59

4.2 Production of Epichlorohydrin 62

4.3 Industrial Applications 65

References 68

Chapter 5 Dehydration 70

5.1 Dehydration of Glycerol 70

5.2 Dehydration to Acrolein 71

5.3 Propane from Acrolein 77

5.4 Oxydehydration to Acrylic Acid 80

5.5 Dehydration to 3-Hydroxypropionaldehyde 81

5.6 Industrial Applications 82

References 84

Chapter 6 Etherification 87

6.1 Etherification of Glycerol 87

6.2 Butylation of glycerol tert-butyl ethers 87

6.3 Direct Telomerization and Etherification over CaO 93

6.4 Polymerization to Polyglycerol 95

6.5 Glycosylalion to Glucosyl Glycerol 97

6.6 Industrial Applications 97

References 99

Chapter 7 Esterification 102

7.1 Esterification of Glycerol 102

7.2 Esterification with Carboxylic Acids and Glycerolysis 102

7.3 Carboxylation to Glycerol Carbonate 107

7.4 Nitration 109

7.5 Industrial Applications 110

References 112

Chapter 8 Selective Oxidation 115

8.1 Selective Oxidation of Glycerol 115

8.2 Thermodynamic and Kinetic Aspects of Aerobic C-OH Oxidation 118

8.3 Platinum-Group Metal Catalysis 119

8.4 Gold and Organocatalysis 122

8.5 Oxidation Using an Iron Catalyst 124

8.6 Electrochemical Oxidation 126

8.7 Biological Oxidation 128

References 131

Chapter 9 Bioglycerol in the Construction Industry 135

9.1 Polyols as Additives for Cement 135

9.2 Glycerol as Anticracking and Waterproofing Agent 139

9.3 Raw Glycerol as Quality Enhancer and Grinding Aid 140

9.4 Bioglycerol as Anticorrosive Lubricant 142

References 147

Chapter 10 Sustainability of Bioglycerol 149

10.1 Biofuels: A Triple Bottom Line Analysis 149

10.2 Bioglycerol Economics 153

10.3 Glycerol: A Platform Chemical for the Biorefinery 160

References 163

Subject Index 166

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