Process Designs for Converting Propylene Glycol to Acrylic Acid via Lactic Acid and Allyl Alcohol

M.M. Buitelaar, Eline van Daatselaar, D.G. van Teijlingen, H.I. Stokvis, J.D. Wendt, R.J. De Sousa Ribeiro, A.M.M. Brooks, E.C. Kamphuis, S. Lopez Montoya, J.C. van Putten, A.G.J. van der Ham*, H. van den Berg, J.P. Lange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The chemical industry is currently facing the challenge of developing biobased production processes suitable for a more sustainable chemical industry. Acrylic acid produced from monopropylene glycol is a good candidate to become a cost-competitive and sustainable platform chemical. The propylene glycol price is expected to drop due to the expected abundance of propylene glycol as a sugar hydrogenolysis byproduct, which is required to make the conversion to acrylic acid cost-competitive. Two different processes for the conversion of propylene glycol to acrylic acid are evaluated in this work, either by (1) low temperature oxidation of propylene glycol to lactic acid and high temperature dehydration to acrylic acid or by (2) high temperature dehydration of propylene glycol to allyl alcohol and further high temperature oxidation to acrylic acid. Liquid-liquid extraction was found to be a key operation in both production processes. At similar overall yields, the allyl alcohol route appears inherently favored, as a result of the opportunity to integrate the reaction heat available at high temperature. To conclude, the price of propylene glycol has to drop by 45-55% to make the biobased production of acrylic acid from propylene glycol economically feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1192
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial & engineering chemistry research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020


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