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Glycerin Can Finally Be Used in The Biofuel Production Process


Glycerin is the most important component in many of the products we use, from soap to cosmetics, foods and pharmaceuticals. We even use it for biofuel production, algae growth and fuel cells.

But it seems that in this moment glycerin really represents an issue as the large quantity developed by biofuel refineries cannot be assimilated by the market. The excess glycerin is incinerated on the market or illegally disposed.

But even if it sounds ironic, glycerin may be riding to its own rescue and this because it can help the biofuel industry. Rice University has developed a glycerin-gobbling microorganism that feeds on waste glycerin and turns it into fuel.

Glycos Biotechnologies, Inc. has already put the bugs on the market to turn the waste glycerin into a profit center instead of a costly liability. Besides this, the microbial bioconversion can be used to make fabrics, insulation and food products as well as additional fuels and chemicals like alcohols and acids.

GlycosBio specially designed the microbial bioconversion to be easily integrated in the refinery processes. The difference is that the conversion process requires a lower heat level and less power. The new conversion process can also work on different biofuel feedstock including algae, so finally there is a purpose for the crude glycerin that results from the biofuel production.

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  1. As a capitalist, a conservative and a person who wants EVERYBODY to survive, I’m happily awaiting the REAL biofuels which can replace crude. Ethanol was a government boondoggle which is not only killing people but it increased inflation (ie, made us all poorer unless we were corn farmers or ADM lobbyists), drove out workable technologies and wasted hundreds of $B through 2015 when Congress’ mandate ends to produce that crap.

    A replacement for crude which is MORE efficient, MORE cheaply produced and LESS negative externalities solves the problem for everyone. Enviro-nuts who believe we are melting icecaps, anti-jihad warriors who want to defund Al Qaeda and the sheiks, pro-consumer groups who want cheaper fuel and even politicians who will claim credit for it.

    Technology has always been the answer. Crude replaced whale blunder. Crude needs to be replaced by….algae. Hey, cool!! Until we replace it with something which draws electricity from the atmosphere itself and algae is no longer necessary.

    The pitiful hopelessness about mankind of the Earth is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not buying into it. I think humanity is smarter than that. And allowing innovation, capitalism (that silly thing which funds most of the brilliance in the world) and a simple desire to live a better life can solve all of this.

    All we have to do is avoid pretending we are constantly in ‘crisis’ and have to act before we have a chance to think.


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