Chemicals from glycerine

It’s been a while since I visited the glycerine industry but it seems that research for new applications for the product is ongoing despite the market’s pricing (and supply) volatility.

Chemical engineers at Rice University have developed a fermentation process that can convert the biodiesel coproduct glycerine into high value organic acids such as formate, lactate, and succinate.

The technologies have been licensed to Glycos Biotechnologies Inc., a Houston-based startup company that plans to open its first demonstration facility within the next 12 months.

Another development (commissioned and licensed by Diversified Energy) is from North Carolina State University who was able to efficiently and safely burn crude glycerine for use as energy. The created energy can be used for process heating applications or electricity generation.

Which development do you think will attract the most interest?


3 Responses to Chemicals from glycerine

  1. Barbara 4 July, 2008 at 1:17 pm #

    This reminds me of when I had to cover the ICIS Glycerine (Europe) price report and the price had been falling for two years. All the producers were excited that these much-heralded new applications would mean a big upturn in demand for glycerine. They told me that technical advances in windscreen wash and de-icer meant that glycerine would replace monopropylene glycol (MPG) which was much more expensive. When I put this to a well-known UK producer of windscreen wash and de-icer, he launched into a tirade of abuse, because he said there was no ****ing way that glycerine could be used on windscreens because it just smears all over the place.

  2. Doris de Guzman 7 July, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    And now Huntsman, Dow, Bayer (and some other bigwigs) have joined the wagon and producing glycerine-based glycols.

  3. Biofuelsimon 8 July, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    That’s got to be good news for home brewers, who find it difficult to get rid of the stuff…

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