PhD research: From sugars to polymers: microkinetic analysis of 2,3-butanediol dehydration into butadiene over solid catalysts

March 2019 to February 2023
rubber production
Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (Ethiopia)
Research fields
Technology and Engineering

Butadiene is the key building block for synthetic rubber production and is currently industrially produced starting from fossil fuels. Given the increasing importance of not only polybutadiene itself, but also acrylonitrile butadiene rubber and styrene butadiene rubber, among others, alternative bio-based production processes starting from sugar or sugar derived feedstock are considered. Furthermore, the shift to lighter feedstock in steam crackers has also reduced the availability of butadiene. Therefore, new alternative production strategies for butadiene need to be investigated. In the SPICY project, the sugar will first be transformed to 2,3-butanediol via fermentation, which will be further converted to butadiene. In this process, 2,3-butanediol will need to be selectively dehydrated to 3-buten-2-ol which will then be dehydrated to butadiene.


Understanding and quantifying the dominant reaction pathways in 2,3-butanediol dehydration into butadiene, providing, thereby, guidelines for catalyst and operating conditions optimization.