(407d) Fuels and Chemicals from Low-Temperature Catalytic Conversion of Glycerol to Synthesis Gas

Soares, R. R. - Presenter, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
Simonetti, D. A. - Presenter, University of California at Berkeley
Dumesic, J. A. - Presenter, University of Wisconsin-Madison

We show that liquid fuels and chemicals can be produced from glycerol via a two-step process that involves the catalytic conversion of glycerol to H2 and CO combined with the subsequent Fischer-Tropsch or methanol synthesis. Gas mixtures of H2 and CO can be produced at high rates and selectivities from glycerol over platinum-based bi-metallic catalysts at temperatures (e.g., 500-620 K) that are significantly lower compared to conventional gasification of biomass. This new low-temperature catalytic process can be used to produce fuels and chemicals from waste glycerol streams currently generated as a by-product from the production of biodiesel. In addition, this two-step process serves as an energy-efficient alternative to processes used to convert starch-based materials to fuel-grade ethanol, because glycerol can be produced in high concentrations (e.g., 30 wt%) by fermentation of glucose. Accordingly, this process opens new pathways to more effectively utilize renewable biomass resources to provide liquid fuels and chemical intermediates.