This objective will be reached by basing the process on the use of renewables and CO2 in the production of cyclic carbonates. Two routes will be explored: the direct conversion of glycerol to glycerol carbonate and the route through the formation of epoxides.
- Development of the optimal catalyst-process combination both in activity, catalyst recoverability and optimal immobilization technique
- Intensification of the reactions in a flow reactor focusing on energy efficiency and increased product yields
- Creating a miniplant scale process which starts with the renewable raw materials and CO2 and produces cyclic carbonates
- Completion of designs and engineering of a scaled-up process integrated with a chemicals plant so that the developed technology is directly transferrable to industry;
The catalytic systems of interest have the potential to create enantiomerically pure glycerol carbonates and other enantiomerically pure cyclic carbonates. This opens new markets in pharmaceutical applications and polymer production. These possibilities will be explored as well. Furthermore the feasibility of using CO2 in combination with water to produce intermediates of the cyclic carbonate production directly will be evaluated (currently photocatalytic and electrocatalytic processes with a high selectivity, but a low yield). If this is possible, in the future, the production of cyclic carbonates from CO2, water and energy (available at the same location) will become possible. It will increase the CO2 utilisation in the production of cyclic carbonates. The proposal will create a new industrial process in which renewables and CO2 are used to create value products and reduce GHG emissions.
SINTEF is the leader of a Work Package on the development of catalysts for the direct conversion of glycerol and CO2 to glycerol carbonate. This work will utilize both a batch scale reactor and high-throughput studies. SINTEF will also be involved in the other route to glycerol carbonate, via an epoxide, as well as larger scale production of catalysts for the upscaled process.