Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2013, Volume 16, Issue 1

The Efficient Catalytic Conversion of Glycerol Into Valuable Chemicals

Adriana Marinoiu 1* , Elena Carcadea 1 , Claudia Cobzaru 2 , Catalin Capris 1 , Vasile Tanislav 1 , Mircea Raceanu 1 , Ioan Iordache 1

1 National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies - ICSI Rm. Valcea, Uzinei Street no. 4, PO Box Râureni 7, 240050, Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania
2 “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Protection D. Mangeron, 71, 70050, Romania

*Corresponding author: Adriana Marinoiu, E-mail:

Published: May 2013


The planned massive increase in the production of bio-diesel will inevitably lead to a large oversupply of glycerol. From each unit of vegetable oil that is converted to bio-diesel approximately 10% by weight will be recovered as by-product glycerol. Conventionally, the commercial propylene glycol production route is propylene-based, through propylene oxide, and therefore it is sensitive to the price of petroleum and associated products. There is clearly an attraction to de-coupling propylene glycol from petroleum and exploiting the predicted surplus of glycerol is one way of achieving this. The efficient catalytic conversion of glycerol, the main by-product from the bio-diesel production, into valuable chemicals, can contribute to the promotion of bio-diesel utilization from both an economic and environmental point of view. Glycerol can be hydrogenated to propylene glycol using copper chromite catalyst with high yield and conversion under mild reaction conditions (20 bar, 200°C, 8 h) and basic aqueous solutions. The effect of the added base type was discussed in this paper. The highest conversion of glycerol and the highest selectivity to 1,2-propanediol were observed in presence of LiOH.


Hydrogenolysis, propylene glycol, copper chromite catalyst.

Tag search Hydrogenolysis propylene glycol copper chromite catalyst