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A review of steam reforming of glycerol

Adewale George Adeniyi and Joshua O. Ighalo

University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria



Abstract: The increase in glycerol in the global market (from increased biodiesel production) has led to a glut. Of the different methods of utilising crude glycerol, steam reforming has been explored as a viable energy generation technique. Over the years, research has explored process optimisation, process catalysis, thermodynamics analysis, kinetic modelling, exergy and energy analyses, techno-economic analyses, environmental performance, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations in this regard. This paper reviewed and catalogued the current state of knowledge on the production of bio-hydrogen by the steam reforming of glycerol obtained from transesterification while revealing key knowledge gaps. It was observed that impurities in crude glycerol have much more negative effect on the overall yield than on the product selectivity. Impurities such as water and methanol favour the production hydrogen. The catalysts for steam reforming are usually noble and transition metals co-precipitated together or impregnated on metal oxides and ores. Nickel is considered as the best catalyst for the process with temperature and pressure optimal pegged around 650–900 °C and 1 atm. Gaping gaps in knowledge abound in the research area and these are in the domain of crude glycerol use, fluidised bed use, artificial sorbent use, pilot scale studies, cost and profitability analysis, and investigations on carbon deposition behaviour.

Keywords: Glycerol ; Steam reforming ; Crude ; Catalyst ; Hydrogen 

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-019-00840-8


Chemical Papers 73 (11) 2619–2635 (2019)

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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