Project CtC (Carbohydrate wastes to Chemicals)
The annual demand for propylene glycol is currently around 2.5 million tonnes worldwide and has an annual growth rate of around 5 %. The demand for ethylene glycol is even significantly higher at around 30 million tonnes and an annual growth rate of around 4 %. So far, the raw material of these diols has been crude oil. The production via biogenic, sustainable processes has the benefit of long-term availability and decoupling of fossil raw materials. Initial studies show that this can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is a step towards a sustainable economy in the future.
For this purpose, the use of second-generation sugars, which are obtained through the utilization of carbohydrate-containing residues, is being examined. Various processes have already been developed for the extraction of such carbohydrates. As part of the project, sugars from these processes are to be used, although they must be adequately purified to use them for thermochemical-catalytic processes. Accordingly, cleaning processes are to be developed as part of the project.
In addition to the use of second-generation sugars, the stepwise conversion of these sugars into glycols is to be optimized. In particular, hydrogenolysis to form glycols leads to a wide range of products with a large number of by-products. A reduction of by-products leads to an improvement in ecology and added value and also simplifies the purification of the product mixture.
All developments are carried out taking process engineering aspects into account and will be merged to one overall process. This will ensure that all process steps are efficiently integrated and build a solid basis for commercial implementation.