Preparation of bio-based surfactants from glycerol and dodecanol by direct etherification

Zhaoyu Fan, Yan Zhao, Florentina Preda, Jean Marc Clacens, Hui Shi, Limin Wang*, Xiaoshuang Feng, Floryan De Campo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In this paper, we studied an original synthetic strategy to prepare bio-based surfactants by direct solvent-free etherification of glycerol with dodecanol using heterogeneous interfacial acidic catalysts dubbed Pickering Interfacial Catalysis. The conversion of dodecanol could be achieved to 60-71% with limited production of didodecyl ether (DE) as the main side product. The selectivity of the final product, alkylpolyglycerylether (AGEM), could be pushed to >80% with a water removal process at 150°C, as a mixture of monolauryl polyglyceryl ethers, multilauryl polyglyceryl ethers and multilauryl cyclicpolyglyceryl ethers. AGEM could be isolated with a suitable work-up and was fully characterized by GC (MS), HPLC, SFC/HRMS, etc. The physicochemical properties of these new surfactants were evaluated, as well as their laundry performances. This solvent-free direct etherification process paves the way towards new value-added applications of glycerol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-892
Number of pages11
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2015.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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