Production of Biopropylene Using Biomass-Derived Sources
Propylene along with ethylene forms the backbone of the petrochemical industry. Propylene is the second most important key intermediate for the production of a variety of end-use chemicals. Industrial processes producing propylene today are primarily steam cracking and fluid catalytic cracking, which amount up to 90% of propylene production. Apart from steam cracking and fluid catalytic cracking, on-purpose propylene production processes (e.g., dehydrogenation, metathesis, and methanol to olefins) are becoming more important owing to increasing propylene demand. On the other hand, there is intense research interest to sustainable production of propylene using biomass resources instead of fossil raw materials. In this sense, various renewable processes have been developed utilizing lignocellulosic and triglyceride-based biomass sources. The most important among them are bioethylene and biobutene metathesis as well as biomethanol to propylene. In addition to these technologies, novel catalytic routes based on biomass-derived oxygenates, the most important being glycerol, have demonstrated high potential for future commercialization. Glycerol-selective conversion to propylene is realized via catalytic deoxygenation routes at mild operating conditions (200–300 °C). These reactions are catalyzed by either metal catalysts or metal oxide and carbide systems. Molybdenum oxides and carbides have shown unique catalytic performance by selectively activating C[BOND]O/C[DOUBLE BOND]O bonds, while retarding C[BOND]C bonds of the oxygenates. In most cases, propylene is the main product formed achieving very high yields, up to 90%. These processes will definitely play an important role in propylene production in the near future realizing the concept of biorefineries.
Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, Πολυτεχνική Σχολή, Τμήμα Χημικών Μηχανικών
Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, 
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