(510f) Catalytic Production of 1,2-MPG From Glycerin

Dufreche, S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Bajpai, R., University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Zappi, M., University of Louisiana at Lafayette

As biodiesel becomes increasingly important as an alternative fuel its main by-product, crude glycerol, is experiencing a decline in market value.  One method of utilizing glycerol is converting this product to propylene glycol using a hydrogenolysis reaction.  Glycerol is first dehydrated to form acetol, then with the help of hydrogen gas the acetol is hydrogenised to form 1,2-propylene glycol (MPG).  A loosely packed column filled with a copper chromite catalyst with promoters such as barium or manganese is used to help in the conversion of glycerol.  Current commercial concerns include selectivity of MPG over other byproducts and catalyst lifetime.  Selectivity was modified through addition of organic and inorganic buffers to stabilize conversion.  The reaction has been tested with technical grade glycerin to isolate effects of additives.  Data presented includes kinetics, selectivity toward 1,2-MPG, and stability of the catalyst.