Base catalysts have been investigated for the dehydration of fatty alcohols to linear alpha olefins (LAOs). For the gas phase dehydration of 1-octanol to 1-octene 15% Cs / SiO2 The catalyst was 56% selective at 10% conversion. Diluting a feed of C.8th, C.10, and C14th Fatty alcohols to 50% in undecane increased the selectivity for alpha-olefins to 77-99%. 15% Cs / SiO2 was further tested for gas phase dehydration of 4.2 g L−1 mixed C.8th–C14th Fatty alcohol in tridecane feed and showed linear alpha-olefin selectivities of 78-100% with initial conversions of 51-91%, with the conversion decreasing to 32-77% over 30 hours. The catalytic activity was completely regenerated by calcination. A feed made from biologically obtained alcohols was also produced E. coli Strain CM24 transformed with three plasmids (pBTRCk-pVHb-maACR, pACYC-pVHb-seFadBA, pTRC99A-pVHb-tdTER-fdh) gave 5.5 g of L.−1 by C.8th–C14th Fatty alcohol in tridecane. This organically obtained feed has been successfully dehydrated to linear alpha olefins over 15% Cs / SiO2 with selectivities of 60–100% with initial conversions of 35–75%, which decreased to 22–55% over 30 hours. The techno-economic analysis (TEA) of the integrated process for the production of fatty alcohol and for the subsequent dehydration to alpha-olefins was carried out over the potential fermentation TRY landscape (titer, rate, yield). Baseline fermentation performance resulted in double the product sale price (MPSP), which was twice the market price for LAOs, because the titers were low and the cost of controlling the water and tridecane solvent flow through the system was high. Targeted improvement of fermentation performance (e.g.Reaching 40 g L.−1 Titer, 0.5 g L.−1 H−1 Productivity, 80% theoretical yield) can enable financially viable production of biologically derived LAOs.

Graphic summary: Renewable linear alpha-olefins through base-catalyzed dehydration of biologically derived fatty alcohols


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