In Situ Catalytic Conversion of Glycerol to Triacetin under Microwave Irradiation with Commercial Palladium on Activated Carbon Catalyst
The depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels has led to the increasing importance of carbon-neutral resources like biofuel and biodiesel. Biodiesel is a better fuel option than petrodiesel due to its excellent lubricity, non-toxic nature, and lack of sulphur. However, the excess production of glycerol is a challenge for biodiesel usage. This study investigates the use of an acetylation process with palladium on the activated carbon catalyst to convert glycerol into triacetin, a potential fuel additive for biodiesel blends. The study optimizes the reaction parameters using response surface methodology to achieve high selectivity for triacetin. The study determined that the optimized parameters for achieving 96.64% glycerol conversion and 0.231% triacetin selectivity are 110˚C, a 1:10 glycerol-acetic acid mole ratio, and 0.718 wt.% catalyst loading. Analysis of variance revealed that the reaction temperature has a significant impact on glycerol conversion, while the glycerol-acetic acid mole ratio affects the selectivity of triacetin.