D3.11. Discovery of new chemical transformations

Main objectives

The conversion of the extracted glycerol fermentation products into value-added chemicals by employing chemocatalysis has been targeted. The glycerol fermentation product 1,3-propanediol has been investigated as the chemical platform.

Main outcomes

QUB has shown that the hydrogen transfer initiated deydration (HTID) of 1,3-propanediol in ionic liquids catalysed by recyclable Cp*IrCl2(NHC) (Cp* = pentamethylcyclopentadienyl; NHC = carbene ligand) complexes allows the successful production of a range of C3 and C6 aldehydes as the value-added chemicals. Both propionaldehyde and 2-methyl-pentenal were produced with high conversions, yields and selectivities.In addition, the HTID of 1,3-propanediol in ionic liquids is successful also when significant volumes of water are involved in the reaction. The catalytic system has been proven to be recyclable. The successful synthesis and isolation of value-added chemicals out of the ionic liquid solutions of 1,3-propanediol (mimicking the product of extraction of aqueous glycerol fermentation broth) proves that the combination of Cp*IrX2(NHC) catalysed HTID of 1,3-propanediol in ionic liquids with bio-catalysis has, ultimately, the potential to allow the transformation of waste glycerol into valuable chemicals. This valorisation of waste to chemicals would add significant value and improve the economics of biomass waste utilization. The mono- or multi-step, one-pot, bio- chemo-catalytic process to produce value-added chemicals directly from glycerol will be ultimately tested.


  • Review of technical glycerol potential from biodiesel production and availability for improved cascading in Europe

    May 2, 2017

    The article entitled: “Review of technical glycerol potential from biodiesel production and availability for improved cascading in Europe” has been published and is available online. Authors: André Brosowski (DBFZ), Stephanie Hauschild (DBFZ), Karin Naumann (DBFZ), Jens Hösel (DBFZ), Daniela Thrän (Helmholtz Centre for environmental research), Type of publication: Article – Research Paper Date: April 2017 Publication: […]


  • 42M Progress Meeting – April 26 to 28, 2017 – Leipzig (Germany)

    April 11, 2017

    All the project partners will be hosted by DBFZ in Leipzig (Germany) from April 26 to 28, 2017. This is a good opportuny to discuss about the project advancement after the last Consortium Meeting which took place from October 12 to 14, 2016 in Hurtigruten, Bergen – Trondheim, Norway. Agenda available here: GRAIL_42M_Agenda     […]


  • GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #5 – February 2017

    February 22, 2017

    PROJECT SUMMARY GRAIL : GLYCEROL BIOREFINERY APPROACH FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS OF INDUSTRIAL VALUE GRAIL is a 48-months collaborative project funded by the European Commission, under the FP7 Programme for Knowledge Based Bio-Economy. The topic of GRAIL project is “Preventing and valorizing bio-waste in biorefineries optimal and cost-effective industrial biocatalysts”. What’s inside […]


  • D2-2 – Operating parameters for batch experiments

    January 5, 2017

    Main Objectives To provide information about operational parameters at batch configurations such as, the effect of inoculum, addition of nutrients, pH control and substrate concentration to improve hydrogen and ethanol production  Main Outcomes According to the results, the selected inoculum was sludge from an aerobic wastewater treatment plant and an aerobic pretreatment. Also, it was […]