Glycerol valorization: dehydration to acrolein over silica-supported niobia catalysts

N.R. Shiju, D.R. Brown, K. Wilson, G. Rothenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The catalytic dehydration of glycerol to acrolein is investigated over silica-supported niobia catalysts in a continuous fixed-bed gas-phase reactor. Various supported niobia catalysts are prepared and characterized using surface analysis and spectroscopic methods (XRD, UV-Vis, XPS, N2 adsorption), as well as with ammonia adsorption microcalorimetry. Good results are obtained with initial glycerol conversions of over 70% and with 50-70% selectivity to acrolein. We investigate the influence of changing the catalyst acid strength by varying the niobia content and catalyst calcination temperature. Glycerol conversion and acrolein selectivity depend on the surface acid strength. Catalyst deactivation by coking is also observed, but simple oxidative treatment in air restores the activity of the catalysts completely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1223
Number of pages7
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Issue number15-18
Early online date11 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2010. This article is published with open access at


  • glycerol
  • Niobia
  • microcalorimetry
  • heterogeneous catalyst
  • renewable


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