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Feasibility study for industrial production of fuel additives from glycerol

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE M.R. MONBALIU1,*, MARC WINTER2, BÉRENGÈRE CHEVALIER2, FRANK SCHMIDT2, YI JIANG2, RONALD HOOGENDOORN3, MICHIEL KOUSEMAKER3, CHRISTIAN V. STEVENS1*
*Corresponding author
1. Ghent University, SynBioC Research Group, Department of Sustainable Organic Chemistry and Technology
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure links 653, Gent, 9000, Belgium
2. Corning S.A.S, Corning European Technology Center, Avenue de Valvins 7 bis, Avon, 77210, France
3. Delta Biovalue BV, Poelendaelesingel 10, Middelburg, 4335 JA, The Netherlands

Abstract

Glycerol, the main by-product of biodiesel production, has been considered a renewable chemical for largescale production of a new potent fuel-additive, namely solketal tertbutyl ether (STBE). Delta Biovalue BV, a major biodieselmanufacturer in the European Union, Corning Incorporated, a manufacturer of modular Advanced-FlowTM glass reactors andSynBioC, a research group with a long-standing interest and know-how in flow and renewable chemistry have collaboratedto develop a new process aimed at performing the transformation of glycerol in STBE under flow conditions. The advantagesof the highly engineered Corning reactor system, including: high mixing, heat-exchange efficiencies under corrosive flowconditions with low liquid hold-up and high throughput, allowed the development and the intensification of a two-step processwith 83 percent global yield. The final goal of this project is to develop a robust, green and safe process being able to produce~12,000 t/y STBE.


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