According to the US Department of Energy (DOE) in a 2004 study, glycerol is one of the top 12 building block chemicals from biomass although in REG’s case, glycerol is made from natural fats and oils (as we sometimes called it lipids) via the chemical process esterification/transesterification.Crude glycerin has minimum 85% glycerol, with low salts and many organics such as free fatty acids and distillates), according to ICIS.
Now, REG said it also plans to work with technology companies that focus on renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels.
“We are able to offer to co-locate these companies’ equipment and production processes at our existing facilities, as well as to offer design-build, operations and management capabilities to accelerate the commercialization of these companies’ products.” – REG
One such company is REG’s relationship with Glycos Biotechnologies, which is developing chemicals such as ethanol, isoprene, acetone, hydrogen, 1,2 propanediol and other organic acids such as lactic acid, succinic acid and formic acid using crude glycerin as feedstock. REG has been collaborating with GlycosBio since 2007.
One of REG’s plans is to acquire or invest in biodiesel, renewable chemicals or other advanced biofuel production and distribution assets in select international markets targeting large end-user or large feedstock generating markets. The company also plans to expand into the production of renewable chemicals, additional advanced biofuels, next generation feedstocks, such as algae oil, and related renewable products.
Here is a chart from the DOE’s 2004 biomass chemicals study for those who are interested in new glycerin applications:
In fact, my ICIS colleague Judith Taylor recently wrote a story (it’s free! Yey!) on new refined glycerin uses. According to her, the exit of ADM from the USP glycerin market this January will take pounds out of the refined glycerin market to be used in the production of monopropylene glycol (MPG). As you know, ADM began operation of its 100,000 tonne/year glycerin-based MPG plant at Decatur, Illinois, in the second quarter last year.
Market participants expected about 5m lb (2,268 tonnes) of refined glycerine to be utilised in the glycol market in 2012, and expected this number to increase by the end of the year.
Here are some other news that the blog posted last year on glycerin:
- Growing glycerin-to-epichlorohydrin plants.
- ADM’s glycerin-based PG onstream
- GlycosBio picks Toyo Engineering
- BIOX improves glycerin grade
- Solvay mulls glycerin-to-ECH plant in China
- Spolchemie to expand glycerine-to-ECH capacity
- A set of specification standards for a glycerine grade to be used in engine coolants is nearing release by ASTM International
- Tangshan Risun Chemical builds glycerine-to-ECH plant