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Energy Optimization via the Catalytic Upgrading of Side Products - The Case of Glycerol Hydrodeoxygenation

Dr. Gustavo A. Fuentes
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Department of Process Engineering,
Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana
Iztapalapa, Mexico

An alternative to improve the economics of biodiesel production is the catalytic transformation of glycerol, the stoichiometric side-product, to high value-added molecules. Catalytic production of different chemicals has hence been extensively studied in recent years, generally using a high pressure of hydrogen. We report here preliminary results on the aqueous phase hydrodeoxygenation of glycerol into acetol and 1,2-propanediol, using Cu-Pd/TiO2-X%Na as a catalyst in the absence of externally added hydrogen or in its presence at low pressures. The underlying strategy is to couple reforming and hydrodeoxygenation at the catalyst-surface level in order to improve operational safety and reduce costs. This concept decreases the need for external hydrogen production and of power derived from fossil sources.

Biographical Information

Dr. Fuentes is currently Professor of Chemical Engineering at UAMIztapalapa in Mexico, where he has held different academic positions, while also serving in a number of committees dealing with Science and Technology issues in Conacyt and in different national and international Societies.

He holds a B.S. from National University in Mexico (UNAM) and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, both in Chemical Engineering. At the University of Munich (LMU), he was a Humboldt Fellow, and has held visiting positions at UC-Berkeley and the Technical University Munich.

His recent research involves NOx catalytic reduction, chiral catalysis, and the catalytic upgrading of glycerol. His group also advances the characterization of supported nanoparticles and nanostructures using UV-Vis spectroscopy, and works in the mesoscopic modeling of catalyst sintering.