A large part of the glycerin glut comes from biofuel refineries, which put out enormous quantities of crude glycerin as a byproduct. Glycos Biotechnologies, Inc.
, which is commercializing glycerin-gobbling microorganisms developed by researchers at Rice University. The hungry bugs are at the heart of an energy-efficient bioconversion process that turns waste glycerin into fuels
and other products.
GlycosBio’s approach is to integrate bioconversion into individual refinery operations. Instead of a liability, the waste glycerin can be made into a profit center, yielding high-value chemicals (alcohols and acids) that can be used to make fabrics, insulation, and food products, as well as additional fuels. Other researchers have been developing ways to convert glycerin into ethanol, methane, hydrogen gas, and even a non-toxic antifreeze.
GlycosBio designed its operations to follow familiar refinery processes, which makes integration relatively easy. The big difference is the company’s proprietary microbe based conversion process, which requires far less heat and power. In addition to crude glycerin, the conversion process can also work on a variety of biofuel feedstocks, perhaps including algae.
Labels: biofuels, energy, waste
PermaLink - Energy-efficient Bioconversion to Turn Waste Glycerin to Biofuels