Martina Battisti


Martina Battisti

Chair of Heterogeneous Catalysis and Technical Chemistry


Building: Sammelbau Chemie

Room: 38B 320

Worringerweg 2

52074 Aachen


Phone: +49 241 80 26577
Fax Fax: +49 241 80 22177

Study of the dehydration of glycerol to acrolein and the subsequent ammoxidation to acrylonitrile

Reaction scheme dehydration of glycerol to acrolein Copyright: © Martina Battisti

The compelling transition towards a greener chemical industry has underlined the need of a change in the feedstock supply for many bulk chemicals. Among them, acrylonitrile (ACN) is currently almost exclusively produced via the ammoxidation of fossil-based propylene (Sohio process), with an annual demand around 6 million tonnes. Additionally, environmental threats arise from the co-production of toxic hydrogen cyanide and acetonitrile during the process.
Since ACN has many applications in the polymeric industry (polyacrylonitrile – PAN, ABS co-polymers, nitrile rubber…) it is then advisable to develop and promote its production with alternative and sustainable paths.

A possible route is presented by the dehydration of glycerol to acrolein (AC) and the subsequent ammoxidation to ACN. Glycerol has the advantage of being a remaining product of biodiesel production and thus being available at a much lower price compared to crude oil. This coupled reaction has been preliminary studied by Liebig et al. [1]. However, in depth studies are still needed to commercially exploit the process, starting from the optimisation of the catalytic system up to the comprehension of the structure-activity relationship.
The end goal of the project is the catalytic synthesis of ACN from glycerol (ITMC – Aachen Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie), its purification (ATV – Aachener Verfahrenstechnik) and its following polymerisation to obtain polyacrylonitrile, which could then be ultimately applied for the production of carbon fibres (ITA – Aachen Institut für Textiltechnik).

Research focus

  • Synthesis and characterisation of an optimised catalytic system
  • Assessment of the stability and possible regeneration of the catalysts
  • Extensive screening of the by-products of the two reactions


Schiaroli, N.; Battisti, M.; Benito, P.; Fornasari, G.; Di Gisi, A.G.; Lucarelli, C.; Vaccari, A. Catalytic Upgrading of Clean Biogas to Synthesis Gas. Catalysts 2022, 12, 109.