Conversion of glycerol to liquid fuels

Carlos A. Henao, Dante Simonetti, James A. Dumesic, Christos T. Maravelias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A significant fraction of the total petroleum supply is used for transportation in the form of liquid hydrocarbons. This fact, along with the increasing demand for oil in developing countries has led to substantial research efforts in the area of renewable liquid fuels. One alternative is the conversion of vegetal oil and animal fat into bio-diesel. However, this comes with the production of significant amounts of glycerol, a byproduct that will become abundant if large scale bio-diesel production is implemented. In order to increase the total biomass to fuel efficiency during the production of bio-diesel and address the overproduction of glycerol, a novel integrated Glycerol Reforming (GR) + Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process is presented. The novelty of this process lies in the use of a Rhenium-based catalyst for the conversion of aqueous glycerol to synthesis gas (syngas). This step reduces significantly the cost of syngas production in traditional green FT processes. This work presents a preliminary process synthesis and an economic evaluation for a medium capacity GR-FT plant. The results show that the integrated process is economically attractive, and that there is room for further improvements trough the use of systematic process design and optimization methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1719-1724
Number of pages6
JournalComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Fischer-tropsch
  • Glycerol reforming
  • Liquid fuels
  • Renewable energy


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