Publication: Green Production of Glycerol Ketals with a Clay-Based Heterogeneous Acid Catalyst
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Glycerol remains a bottleneck for the biodiesel industry as well as an opportunity from the biorefinery perspective, having a notable reactivity as a platform chemical. In particular, glycerol ketals can be envisaged as oxygenates for fuel formulation. In this study, we have focused on the green synthesis of glycerol ketals by reacting glycerol with acyclic (acetone, butanone) and cyclic (cyclohexanone) ketones in the presence of an acid activated clay Tunisian AC in homogeneous systems under quasi-solventless conditions. These reactions were followed by on-line Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) (namely, ReactIR 10). Firstly, the contacting time was selected studying the activity, stability and chemical characteristics of a set of catalysts. The 1-h activated clay AC was further characterized by X-Ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Scanning Electronic Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Finally, the effect of the main operational variables (catalyst concentration, reagents molar ratio, time and temperature) were checked and we reflected on adequate second-order kinetic models with partial first-order deactivation.