Aqueous-phase hydrogenation of lactic acid to propylene glycol

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    • 73 Citations

    Abstract

    The metal-catalyzed hydrogenation of lactic acid to propylene glycol (PG) in aqueous solution is investigated in a laboratory-scale stirred batch reactor. Ruthenium on activated carbon is identified as an active catalyst for the reaction, with nearly complete conversion achieved at reaction temperatures of 100-170°C and hydrogen pressures of 7-14MPa. Selectivity to PG in excess of 90% at 95% lactic acid conversion has been obtained at optimal reaction conditions. Potassium and calcium lactate salts cannot be directly converted to PG, but simple addition of sulfuric acid suffices to convert the salt to free acid, which is then hydrogenated. The ready availability of low-cost lactic acid, produced via fermentation of corn-derived carbohydrates, makes this biomass-based route an attractive alternative to the traditional petroleum-based pathways to PG.

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Pages89-98
    Number of pages10
    JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
    Volume219
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 5 2001

    Profile

    Lactic acid
    Glycols
    Hydrogenation
    Propylene
    Propylene Glycol
    Lactic Acid
    Salts
    Batch reactors
    Carbohydrates
    Ruthenium
    Sulfuric acid
    Activated carbon
    Fermentation
    Potassium
    Calcium
    Biomass
    Crude oil
    Availability
    Hydrogen
    Catalysts

    Keywords

    • Hydrogenation
    • Lactic acid
    • Propylene glycol
    • Ruthenium

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Catalysis
    • Process Chemistry and Technology

    Cite this

    Aqueous-phase hydrogenation of lactic acid to propylene glycol. / Zhang, Zhigang; Jackson, James E.; Miller, Dennis J.

    In: Applied Catalysis A: General, Vol. 219, No. 1-2, 05.10.2001, p. 89-98.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

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    abstract = "The metal-catalyzed hydrogenation of lactic acid to propylene glycol (PG) in aqueous solution is investigated in a laboratory-scale stirred batch reactor. Ruthenium on activated carbon is identified as an active catalyst for the reaction, with nearly complete conversion achieved at reaction temperatures of 100-170°C and hydrogen pressures of 7-14MPa. Selectivity to PG in excess of 90% at 95% lactic acid conversion has been obtained at optimal reaction conditions. Potassium and calcium lactate salts cannot be directly converted to PG, but simple addition of sulfuric acid suffices to convert the salt to free acid, which is then hydrogenated. The ready availability of low-cost lactic acid, produced via fermentation of corn-derived carbohydrates, makes this biomass-based route an attractive alternative to the traditional petroleum-based pathways to PG.",
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