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Transesterification-Glycerol as precursor of high value added chemical compounds

Abstract

This project aims investigate the use of glycerol, pure and from the transesterification reaction, for the production of nanoparticulate zinc oxide and ethyl ethers of glycerol. Given that glycerol is the main by-product of biodiesel production with an average proportion of 10 m3 of glycerol per 90 m3 of biodiesel, and that the availability of this polyol tends to increase substantially over the next few years, especially due to the greater incentive to the production and consumption of biodiesel, an economically viable destination for this glycerol is necessary, aiming to close the biodiesel production chain. Among these destinations, the production of zinc oxide nanoparticulated by the glycerol-urea (GU) route and the production of ethyl ethers of glycerol, appear as two good paths. In the first case, the intation is to investigate (experimental factorial planning 24) the influence of different transesterification-glycerol contaminants (oil, ethanol, biodiesel and catalytic converter) in the GU reaction process for the production of zinc oxide, as well as to verify the impacto of these contaminants on the size of the particles. Concomitantly, computational simulation (Aspen Plus) will be used to develop a complete route for the production of this oxide (reaction, purification and recovery of reagents), since only the GU reaction path was patented by the research group. In the second case, it is intended to develop a reaction route that allows the production of ethyl ethers of glycerol under moderate temperature and atmospheric pressure conditions. The study will be conducted through a factorial design 23 in which the influence of temperature, catalyst percentage and ethanol / glycerol mass ratio on the conversion of, pure (PA standard) transesterification-glycerol, will be investigated. For the catalysis, three types of acidic resin will be investigated, being two commercial ones (Amberlyst 36 and Purolite CT 275) and one developed by the research group (AU)