The valorization of glycerol has been widely studied notably due to the oversupply of the latter from biodiesel production. Among the different upgrading reactions, dehydration to acrolein is of high interest due to the importance of acrolein as an intermediate for polymer industry (via acrylic acid) and for feed additive (synthon for DL-methionine). It is known that acrolein can be obtained by glycerol catalytic dehydration over acid catalysts. Zeolites and heteropolyacid catalysts are initially highly active, but deactivate rapidly with time on stream by coking, whilst mixed metal oxides are more stable catalytic systems but less selective and in addition they require an activation period.
In this talk, the strategy we followed is described. It consisted in a parallel approach in which we developed supported heteropolyacid-based catalysts with increased stability and acrolein selectivity by using a ZrO2-grafted SBA-15 playing the role of the support for silico-tungstic acid active phase, as well as a new concept based on a two zones fluidized bed reactor (TZFBR) to tackle the unavoidable deactivation issue of the HPA catalysts. This type of reactor comprises – in one single capacity – reaction and regeneration zones.
In the second part of the lecture the REALCAT platform was introduced. REALCAT (French acronym standing for ‘Advanced High-Throughput Technologies Platform for Biorefineries Catalysts Design’) is an highly integrated platform devoted to the acceleration of innovation in all the fields of industrial catalysis with an emphasis on emergent biorefinery catalytic processes. In this extremely competitive field, REALCAT consists in a versatile High-Throughput Technologies (HTT) platform devoted to innovation in heterogeneous, homogeneous or biocatalysts AND their combinations under the ultra-efficient very novel concept of hybrid catalysis.