Faculty Advisor

Dixon, Anthony G.


The ubiquity of biodiesel production, which generates 10% glycerol as a by-product, has led to an abundance of glycerol waste and a reduction of value. Steam reforming presents an alternative to optimize the use of glycerol by converting it to hydrogen. The present study simulated the process in COMSOL Multiphysics using a bimetallic Ni–Co/Al2O3 catalyst in a packed bed reactor. The model was developed to simultaneously analyze the kinetics and thermodynamics of the system on an industrial scale, allowing for recommendations regarding process and reactor design. After comparing the process to methane steam reforming, it was found that glycerol steam reforming in a packed bed reactor is a feasible solution for the transformation of waste into a clean sustainable commodity.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

March 2014


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering