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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V026089/1
Title: Sustainable Production of ACrylic acId from reNewable waste Glycerol
Principal Investigator: D'Agostino, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Fan, Dr X Spallina, Dr V Kiss, Professor A A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Argent Energy (UK) Limited Eindhoven University of Technology Johnson Matthey
Department: Chem Eng and Analytical Science
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2021 Ends: 30 November 2023 Value (£): 620,319
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Dec 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 8 and 9 December 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Acrylic acid is an essential bulk chemical commodity used for the production of resins, coatings, adhesives, textile, detergents and other consumer products. It is currently manufactured on the commercial using fossil fuel-based routes, in particular from the oxidation of propylene, the latter being a major product of the naphtha and oil cracking process. The global market of acrylic acid is currently growing of 3-5% annually and the UK is responsible of consuming > 25 ktons/y with no local production capacity thus totally relying on imports from EU and Asia. On the other hand, glycerol is an abundant and cheap feedstock with yearly production of 58 tons/y between UK and Ireland.

In order to reach the much sought-after goal of a carbon neutral society, the chemical industry must evolve and shift the focus on new and sustainable routes that are still able to meet current demands of key chemicals, such as acrylic acid, but with significant reduction of detrimental effects on the environment.

In this context, the main goal of the SPACING project is the demonstration and scale-up of a new process for acrylic acid manufacturing using waste glycerol.

This project comprises three interlinked work packages (WPs):

- WP1 will involve the design, testing and characterisation of new bi-functional catalytic materials, stability test and kinetic studies, including the scale-up to 200 grams for the subsequent tests.

- WP2 will focus on the development and testing of the new integrated fluidised membrane reactor. Both new experimental demonstration and long-term testing under different reactive conditions will be carried out including the benchmark and comparison of different reactor configurations. The experimental results will be used to validate the reactor model. The knowledge gained both from the experimental and numerical activities will be used as guidance for future pilot-scale demonstration of the technology.

- In WP3, the SPACING process will be integrated into the acrylic acid process including feedstock pre-treatment and downstream product separation and refining. The techno-economic and environment performance of the process will be compared with commercial state-of-the-art technologies for acrylic acid manufacturing.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk