Selective Catalytic Hydrogenation of Lactic Acid

EPA Grant Number: R825370C070
Subproject: this is subproject number 070 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825370
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)
Center Director: Crittenden, John C.
Title: Selective Catalytic Hydrogenation of Lactic Acid
Investigators: Cortright, Randy D. , Dumesic, James A.
Institution: University of Wisconsin - Madison
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 1999
RFA: Exploratory Environmental Research Centers (1992) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT) , Targeted Research

Objective:

The goal of this project is to identify and develop methods for the selective catalytic processing of lactic acid to 1, 2-propanediol.

This project utilizes principles developed during previously funded CenCITT projects to investigate two possible catalytic reaction pathways: (1) the direct hydrogenation of lactic acid to 1,2-propanediol over a supported metal catalyst and; (2) the esterification of lactic acid to ethyl lactate over a solid-acid catalyst followed by the hydrogenation of ethyl lactate to 1,2-propanediol over a supported metal catalyst.

Approach:

This project utilizes principles developed during previously funded CenCITT projects to investigate two possible catalytic reaction pathways:
(1) the direct hydrogenation of lactic acid to 1,2-propanediol over a supported metal catalyst and;
(2) the esterification of lactic acid to ethyl lactate over a solid-acid catalyst followed by the hydrogenation of ethyl lactate to 1,2-propanediol over a supported metal
catalyst.

The investigators are combining the results from microcalorimetric measurements, reaction kinetics studies, spectroscopic investigations, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations to elucidate pathways for the reactions of lactic acid, alcohols, diols, and esters over supported metal catalysts and solid-acid catalysts.

Catalysts will be characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), FTIR, and chemisorption measurements. TEM measurements will supply information about the size and dispersion of metal particles on a given support. Chemisorption measurements will be used to count the numbers of sites on the various catalysts using standard probe molecules such as hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

This research has resulted in the invention of a new method to produce 1,2 propanediol through the catalytic hydrogenation of lactic acid. This vapor-phase method employs a copper-based catalyst and operates at atmospheric pressure in the presence of water vapor. Currently, a patent is being pursued for this technology through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Catalysts will be characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), FTIR, and chemisorption measurements. TEM measurements will supply information about the size and dispersion of metal particles on a given support. Chemisorption measurements will be used to count the numbers of sites on the various catalysts using standard probe molecules such as hydrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide, and ammonia.

Expected Results:

Currently, a number of agriprocessing and chemical companies are entering the lactic acid market as they have or will soon be starting-up large scale fermentation processes to produce lactic acid from carbohydrates. It is expected that the combination of fermentation processes and selective catalytic processes would provide a clean route for the production of 1,2-propanediol from renewable carbohydrates feedstocks instead of from non-renewable petroleum.

Supplemental Keywords:

technology for sustainable environment, environmental chemistry, clean technology, environmental engineering, pollution prevention, cleaner production, catalytic hydrogenation, lactic acid 1, 2 propanediol, fermentation, catalytic reaction, renewable carbohydrate feedstocks., RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Chemicals, Chemistry, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, computing technology, Engineering, pollution prevention, Environmental Engineering, cleaner production, industrial wastewater, clean technologies, pollution prevention design tool, data sharing, clean technology, computer science, modeling, pollution control, Clean Process Advisory System (CPAS), catalytic studies, polymers, computer simulation modeling, environmental simulation and design tools, pollution prevention design, environmental data, catalytic hydrogenation, pollution prevention model, clean manufacturing designs

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825370    EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R825370C032 Means for Producing an Entirely New Generation of Lignin-Based Plastics
    R825370C042 Environmentally Conscious Design for Construction
    R825370C046 Clean Process Advisory System (CPAS) Core Activities
    R825370C048 Investigation of the Partial Oxidation of Methane to Methanol in a Simulated Countercurrent Moving Bed Reactor
    R825370C054 Predictive Tool for Ultrafiltration Performance
    R825370C055 Heuristic Reactor Design for Clean Synthesis and Processing - Separative Reactors
    R825370C056 Characterization of Selective Solid Acid Catalysts Towards the Rational Design of Catalytic Reactions
    R825370C057 Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing: Prediction of Processing Waste Streams for Discrete Products
    R825370C064 The Physical Properties Management System (PPMS™): A P2 Engineering Aid to Support Process Design and Analysis
    R825370C065 Development and Testing of Pollution Prevention Design Aids for Process Analysis and Decision Making
    R825370C066 Design Tools for Chemical Process Safety: Accident Probability
    R825370C067 Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing: Design for Disassembly (DFD) in De-Manufacturing of Products
    R825370C068 An Economic Comparison of Wet and Dry Machining
    R825370C069 In-Line Copper Recovery Technology
    R825370C070 Selective Catalytic Hydrogenation of Lactic Acid
    R825370C071 Biosynthesis of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymers from Industrial Wastewater
    R825370C072 Tin Zeolites for Partial Oxidation Catalysis
    R825370C073 Development of a High Performance Photocatalytic Reactor System for the Production of Methanol from Methane in the Gas Phase
    R825370C074 Recovery of Waste Polymer Generated by Lost Foam Technology in the Metal Casting Industry
    R825370C075 Industrial Implementation of the P2 Framework
    R825370C076 Establishing Automated Linkages Between Existing P2-Related Software Design Tools
    R825370C077 Integrated Applications of the Clean Process Advisory System to P2-Conscious Process Analysis and Improvement
    R825370C078 Development of Environmental Indices for Green Chemical Production and Use