Glycerine needs new uses to prop up slumping prices - consultant

19 May 2010 09:42  [Source: ICIS news]

PHOENIX, Arizona (ICIS news)--Glycerine will need to have new uses given growing supply, to help lift its prices from current historical lows, an industry consultant said late Tuesday.

Supply of glycerine, a by-product of biodiesel, has been growing with the advent of biodiesel production in Europe, the US, South America and Southeast Asia, creating strong downward pressure on prices, said Darol Brown, US head of consulting firm HBI, at the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) annual meeting being held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Brown said glycerine prices declined by 67% from 15 years ago, mostly because of biodiesel.

This year, he said global refined glycerine production would grow 11.9% to 2.44m tonnes.

Among the potential new uses of glycerine presented by researchers at the AOCS meeting include production of hydrogen from glycerol, developed by the University of Auburn in Alabama, US.

Glycerine could also be fermented to produce 1,2 propanediol, succinic acid and lactic acid, according to researchers at Texas-based Rice University.

US consumer goods producer Procter & Gamble, meanwhile, noted that a catalytic conversion of glycerine could be done to produce amino alcohol 2-amino-1-propanol (2AP).

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, meanwhile, indicated that a development of microbial production of glyceric acid from crude glycerine can be pursued, with the acid to be used as a functional modifier for polylactic acid plastics.

The AOCS meeting ends Wednesday.

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By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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