Catalytic upgrading of carboxylic acids and esters to bio fuels and bio chemicals

De Maron, Jacopo (2020) Catalytic upgrading of carboxylic acids and esters to bio fuels and bio chemicals, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Chimica, 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9395.
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The research activity was focused on the transformation of methyl propionate (MP) into methyl methacrylate (MMA), avoiding the use of formaldehyde (FAL) thanks to a one-pot strategy involving in situ methanol (MeOH) dehydrogenation over the same catalytic bed were the hydroxy-methylation/dehydration of MP with FAL occurs. The relevance of such research line is related to the availability of cheap renewable bio-glycerol from biodiesel production, from which MP can be obtained via a series of simple catalytic reactions. Moreover, the conventional MMA synthesis (Lucite process) suffers from safety issues related to the direct use of carcinogenic FAL and depends on non-renewable MP. During preliminary studies, ketonization of carboxylic acids and esters has been recognized as a detrimental reaction which hinders the selective synthesis of MMA at low temperature, together with H-transfer hydrogenation with FAL or MeOH as the H-donor at higher temperatures. Therefore, ketonization of propionic acid (PA) and MP was investigated over several catalysts (metal oxides and metal phosphates), to obtain a better understanding of the structure-activity relationship governing the reaction and to design a catalyst for MMA synthesis capable to promote the desired reaction while minimizing ketonization and H-transfer. However, ketonization possesses scientific and industrial value itself and represents a strategy for the upgrade of bio oils from fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic materials, a robust and versatile technology capable to transform the most abundant biomass into liquid biofuels. The catalysts screening showed that ZrO2 and La2O3 are the best catalysts, while MgO possesses low ketonization activity, but still, H-transfer parasitic hydrogenation of MMA reduces its yield over all catalysts. Such study resulted in the design of Mg/Ga mixed oxides that showed enhanced dehydrogenating activity towards MeOH at low temperatures. It was found that the introduction of Ga not only minimize ketonization, but also modulates catalyst basicity reducing H-transfer hydrogenations.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
De Maron, Jacopo
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Propionic Acid (PA) Ketonization 3-Pentanone (3-P) Methyl Propionate (MP) Hydroxy-methylation Methanol (MeOH) Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) Gallium Oxide (Ga2O3) Heterogeneous Catalyst Gas-phase
Data di discussione
1 Aprile 2020

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