The production of ethylene glycol and propylene glycol from higher polyhydric alcohols has been parametrically examined numerous times. However, efforts to develop improved catalyst systems require a better understanding of the reaction mechanism. Glycerol conversion to the glycols represents an initial system for developing an improved mechanistic understanding of the conversion of the more complex higher polyhydric alcohols. Batch reactor studies with ruthenium on carbon catalysts were performed at two pH levels to obtain kinetic data. Langmuir-Hinshelwood-type models were developed from the experimental data to describe the hydrogenolysis of glycerol into ethylene glycol and propylene glycol as well as further degradation of the glycols. Detailed information on the competitive adsorption coefficients for the reaction species was determined, which led to conclusions about the limitations of previous parametric analysis.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brent_shanks/17/