Shiju, N. R., Brown, D.R., Wilson, K. and Rothenberg, G. (2010) Glycerol Valorization: Dehydration to Acrolein Over Silica-Supported Niobia Catalysts. Topics in Catalysis, 53 (15-18). pp. 1217-1223. ISSN 1022-5528

The catalytic dehydration of glycerol to acrolein is investigated over silica-supported niobia catalysts in a continuous fixed-bed gas-phase reactor. Various supported niobia catalysts are prepared and characterized using surface analysis and spectroscopic methods (XRD, UV–Vis, XPS, N2 adsorption), as well as with ammonia adsorption microcalorimetry. Good results are obtained with initial glycerol conversions of over 70% and with 50–70% selectivity to acrolein. We investigate the influence of changing the catalyst acid strength by varying the niobia content and catalyst calcination temperature. Glycerol conversion and acrolein selectivity depend on the surface acid strength. Catalyst deactivation by coking is also observed, but simple oxidative treatment in air restores the activity of the catalysts completely.

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