Category Archives: NEWS

GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #5 – February 2017

PROJECT SUMMARY

GRAIL : GLYCEROL BIOREFINERY APPROACH FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS OF INDUSTRIAL VALUE

GRAIL is a 48-months collaborative project funded by the European Commission, under the FP7 Programme for Knowledge Based Bio-Economy. The topic of GRAIL project is “Preventing and valorizing bio-waste in biorefineries optimal and cost-effective industrial biocatalysts”.

image 1 NEWSLETTER5 GRAIL

What’s inside

  1. Evaluation of raw material supply
  2. Biotransformation of glycerol to biofuels;
  3. Development of green chemicals from glycerol.

3rd YEAR ADVANCE MEETING – OCTOBER 12-14, 2016 – NORWAY

image 2 NEWSLETTER5 GRAILThe communication and cooperation among partners is highly encouraged by the coordinating partner IUCT; therefore, technical workshops and meetings, as well as General Assembly meetings are considered the teamwork basis. With this aim, during the last semester of 2016, the Consortium met in Bergen (Norway), where the last results and achievements were discussed.

FUTURE EVENTS: FINAL CONFERENCE: September 20, 2017 in Barcelona (Spain).

Evaluation of raw material supply

Under the leadership of the Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH (DBFZ), the project partners InKemia IUCT Group (IUCT) and Viomichania Rition Megaron Anastasios Fanis Anonymos Etairia (MEGARA) form a consistent basis for the investigations in the GRAIL project and continuously accompany the project course. In the first project years, the glycerol availability and quality in Europe was evaluated. A patent for a flexible purification procedure is pending in order to provide the required glycerol qualities for the projects’ conversion processes. Ongoing, mass and energy balances for selected glycerol processing plant concepts are investigated and optimized via flowsheet simulation.

image 3 NEWSLETTER5 GRAIL

Glycerol Availability

Supply chains and the potential availability of glycerol in an European and global context is one of the crucial issues for the overall approach of the GRAIL project. In 2014, the DBFZ investigated the glycerol occurrence from biodiesel plants based on data from 2012 and 2013. Despite a feasible biodiesel capacity of about 22 million t y-1 in Europe (global around 50 million t y-1), 2013’s production was just about 8 million t y-1. That corresponds to roughly 0.8 million t y-1 of glycerol in different quality levels. Based on the theoretical potential of glycerol (European
biodiesel capacity) from operating biodiesel plants, a spatial analysis was conducted (Fig. 1). This serves as a basis for the selection of glycerol processing plant locations.

In this study, an accumulation of several biodiesel plants was considered and the transport distances of glycerol were varied (50, 100, 150 and 200 km). The coloration in different shades of grey and green represents the suitability of a specific area to provide an adequate amount of glycerol. Fig. 1 shows that the variety of a suitable plant location is decreasing the more glycerol is needed for the conversion plants. With regard to large-scale processes (> 200 kt y-1), the North Sea coast of Belgium and the Netherlands is the preferred area. The location of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) was finally chosen, which is surrounded by several biodiesel plants providing glycerol. In addition, Rotterdam seems to be favorable due to its good transport connection via port, road and rail as well as the connection to other industries in the surrounding industrial area.

image 4 NEWSLETTER5 GRAIL

inside Glycerol

Various Glycerol Quality

Several glycerol qualities are available on the European market. In 2014 and 2015, the DBFZ conducted an analytical screening of these glycerol qualities. 17 different samples were collected, classified by the producers as low, medium and high quality glycerol. Mostly, rapeseed oil was used as raw material for the biodiesel production. However, used cooking oil (UCO), palm and soybean oil as well as mixtures of these with rapeseed oil were also stated as feedstock. Various conversion routes or technology suppliers as Lurgi, Connemann and the procedure of Desmet Ballestra were entitled. The use of alcoholates as catalysts for the biodiesel production leads for all samples to a glycerol content above 80 %. The impurities were analyzed to be water and small amounts of methanol. Investigations regarding the use of raw glycerol shall therefore at least consider this feedstock composition. Furthermore, most of the samples were generated in biodiesel plants using sodium-based catalysts. Via ICP-OES analysis sodium, phosphorous and sulphur were found to be the main elements in the glycerol phase.

image 5 NEWSLETTER5 GRAILTwo out of 17 glycerol samples were
provided by operators using potassiumbased catalysts in the biodiesel process; the detected main elements were potassium, sulphur, sodium and phosphorous (Fig.2).
Sulphur and phosphorous most likely originate from the vegetable oils themselves; plants absorb sulphur compounds during their growth phase and produce phospholipids especially for membrane construction.

The amounts and compositions of fatty acids, fatty acid methyl esters and soaps in the glycerol samples are directly affected by the fatty acid pattern of the feedstock. This was figured out by comparison of these samples’ parameters with their respective stated raw materials. The occurrence of soaps in the glycerol can have large influences on the microorganism performance within the fermentation processes. These compounds shall therefore be removed by water scrubbing. Additionally, it was verified that the presence of the trans-isomer of octadecenoic acid indicates the use of animal fats as a raw material for the biodiesel process. The origin of the glycerol, whether it is from vegetable or animal oils, is of particular interest within the food sector and the cosmetic industry. The detailed deliverable with regard to the European glycerol qualities will be available on the project website, soon.

BIOTRANSFORMATION OF GLYCEROL TO BIOFUELS

The overall objective concerns the use of a holistic approach for the valorisation of crude glycerol into biofuel using biological processes (mixed microbial culture, single strain) and into biocatalyst using enzymes. The optimization of the different processes has been achieved. The good improvement of ethanol and hydrogen productions from fed-batch fermentation was obtained by ENEA after the isolation of a more efficient microbial culture as a result of its adaption to the substrate. SINTEF is testing the gas stripping as a method for increasing the ethanol production. Moreover, SINTEF is involved in a new task with the aim of evaluating the positive effects on ethanol production of working under partial vacuum conditions during continuous fermentation. PUCV showed the feasibility of a two-step process that converts glycerol to produce hydrogen with a CSTR reactor and utilizes the effluent in the UASB reactor to produce methane. Overall, combining hydrogen generation from glycerol and CH4 produced from the fermented effluent, has resulted in a reasonable organic removal system, as well a reasonable system to produce a high amount of gaseous biofuel, compared to the one stage fermentation process. STUBA pointed out that batch or continuous mode of production are more useful than fed-batch for the butanol production, whose production was optimized by the cells immobilization. IUCT developed successfully the bioprocess for the FAGE production as biocatalyst using commercial lipases.

DEVELOPMENT OF GREEN CHEMICALS FROM GLYCEROL

Butyric acid production and optimization The enrichment and adaptation of MMCs at DTU proved to be a winning strategy to efficiently convert complex substrates, such as crude glycerol derived from animal fat (with no pretreatment). The adaptation allowed the bacteria to grow in CSTR on high feed concentration, performing a high glycerol consumption rate. 1.3 PDO turned out to be the dominant metabolite during steady state, followed by butyrate. The statistical optimization allowed to maximize productivity of PDO and butyric acid, with a 5-fold increase compared to steady state results in standard fermentation conditions prior to optimization. The results showed a model with a complex interaction between the key factors (pH, HRT and glycerol concentration), which implied a careful choice of operating parameters. The model further showed the need for a fine tuning of HRT in combination with the other parameters, in order to maximize productivities and avoid cells wash out. To avoid this problem, preliminary tests and kinetic characterization of the consortium turned out to be fundamental to choose the proper experimental range.

Production of polymers

MEGARA tested samples of Bio Glycerol supplied by IUCT, Cargill and ADM which were used for the synthesis of alkyd resins, maleic resins, rosin esters and saturated polyester resins for powder coatings. The derived bio-propylene glycol from vegetable oils, which was used for the synthesis of UPR, was supplied by Oleon. The formulations for the synthesis of the bio based resins were analogous to the formulations of the commercial products. By incorporating Bio Glycerol and Bio propylene glycol into the formulations of selected commercial polyester resins, the renewable content of polymers increases, while their carbon footprint decreases. Comparing the synthesized bio based resins with their analogous commercial products , it is evident that refined Bio Glycerol and Biopropylene glycol can successfully substitute the petrochemical based glycerol in the formulation of polyester resins for the production of a new
generation of resins without negatively affecting their final properties and overall performance.

1,3-PDO conversion to high value products

The process of extraction of 1,3- propanediol and its conversion to highvalue products by employing chemocatalysis has been targeted. Both high extraction efficiency and stability was achieved. QUB has shown that the hydrogen transfer initiated dehydration (HTID) of 1,3-PDO in ionic liquids allows the successful production of a range of C3 and C6 aldehydes as the value-added chemicals. Both propionaldehyde and 2-methylpentenal were produced with high conversions, yields and selectivities. The successful synthesis and isolation of valueadded chemicals out of the ionic liquid solutions of 1,3-PDO proves that the combination of HTID of 1,3-PDO in ionic liquids with bio-catalysis has the potential to allow the transformation of waste glycerol into valuable chemicals. This valorisation of waste to chemicals would add significant value and improve the economics of biomass waste utilization.
The process to produce value-added chemicals directly from glycerol will be ultimately tested.

PHA production and extraction

DTU has found that enrichment of PHA accumulating microorganisms on fermented crude glycerol (a mixture of 1,3-PDO and volatile Fatty Acids, VFA) led to a process where VFA were converted into PHA (up to 70% of the cells dry matter) and 1,3-PDO was recovered from the process (97% recovery). This novel strategy has the potential to be applied for a remarkably fast accumulation and production of VFA, while 1,3-PDO can be recovered as a high value product in a biorefinery scheme.

MASS AND ENERGY BALANCES OF GLYCEROL PROCESSING PLANT CONCEPTS

The preparation of mass and energy balances of the investigated processes within the project was divided between the project partners DBFZ, Processi Innovativi (PI) and STIFTELSEN SINTEF (SINTEF). The balances were conducted via process simulation using the software ASPEN Plus®. During the first project period mass and process energy balances were conducted by the DBFZ for the conversion routes from glycerol to 1,3-propanediol and n-butanol; both processes are examined by STUBA. In addition, the purification process of raw glycerol and the production of Fatty Acid Glycerol Esters (FAGE), processes invented by IUCT, were simulated in large-scale. For
the fermentation processes it was shown that the dilution rates of the fed glycerol lead to large amounts of water to be handled in the downstream processing.
Furthermore, the conversion rates were detected to be very low. Hence, the developed process cases were successively optimized with regard to these aspects and new experimental findings. For the 1,3-propanediol production, the initially proposed four-step water evaporation and two-step distillation were replaced by a reverse osmosis cascade with a subsequent distillation. The amount of membrane stages and their selectivity were significantly supported by calculations from SINTEF. In the n-butanol case, an in-situ gas stripping with nitrogen was considered. For this, the operation mode was adapted to a continuous process and the gas stripping takes place inside of the fermenter pacificdreamscapes.com. In order to increase the butanol concentration in the stripped product, a reverse osmosis cascade was implemented in the upstream of a distillation step. The latter step was expanded to meet the requirements for the separation of an azeotropic mixture (butanol / ethanol / water), which was neglected during the base cases. The results will be underlined by a comparison of the optimized process routes with the base cases in terms of relevant economic and ecological aspects. These investigations will be conducted by DBFZ and VERTECH assisted by the calculation from PI. The most promising conversion routes and optimization approaches will be published at international conferences and in scientific journals.

DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

At October 2016, the GRAIL project reached the month 36 of its life and now the project is living its last stage as FP7 project. Coordinating partner IUCT, as a bridge among the project and the European Commission, has led the consortium to a successful delivery of the Second Period Report. As future steps, IUCT is working towards the on-time delivery of the Final Report and future sets of Deliverables. Moreover, in closely collaboration with InBio, dissemination leader, the coordination team is organizing a final Dissemination Conference.

  1. C. Varrone, I.V. Skiadas and H.N. Gavala. (2016). Statistical optimization of operating parameters for CSTR bioprocesses: the case study of glycerol conversion. Abstract in Sustain ATV Conference 2016, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.
  2. A. Burniol-Figols, C. Varrone, A.E. Daugaard, I.V. Skiadas and H.N. Gavala. (2016). Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) production from fermented crude glycerol by mixed microbial cultures. Abstract in Sustain ATV Conference 2016, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  3. K. Pissaridi, Kalliopi Krassa. (2016). Glycerol Biorefinery Approach for the Production of High Quality Products of Industrial Value: Production of Bio-based Polymers, 11th Hellenic Polymer Society International Conference, Crete, Greece.
  4. F. Lorenzini, Y. Wang, Y. Ma, X. Liu, M. Rebros, A. C. Marr (2016). ‘Adding value to glycerol by combining chemo- and bio-catalysis: synthesis of aldehydes from 1,3- propanediol via hydrogen transfer catalysed by highly recyclable Cp*Ir(NHC) catalysts.’ CSC 2016 Conference and Exhibition, Halifax, NS, Canada. & UK Catalysis Conference, Loughborough. & 2nd EuGSC, 2nd EuCheMS Congress on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Lisbon & 9th International Conference on Environmental Catalysis, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. (Oral presentations)
  5. A. C. Marr (2016) ‘Combining Bio- and Chemo-catalysis, Striving for a Greener Chemical Industry’. Faculty colloquium of the faculty of Bio- and Chemical Engineering, TU Dortmund. (Oral presentation.)
  6. A. C. Marr (2016). ‘Combining Bio- and Chemo-catalysis, Finding Greener Routes to Chemicals’. 43rd International Conference of Slovak Society Chemical Engineering. (Oralpresentation, plenary lecture.)
  7. Y.Y. Ma, H. Iqbal, Y.-M. Wang, M. Rebros, F. Lorenzini, A. C. Marr (2016). ‘Combining bio- and chemo-catalysis for the production of value-added chemicals from waste glycerol derived from biorefinery.’ Royal Society of Chemistry awards symposium,Belfast, N. Ireland, UK. (Poster presentation.)

PUBLICATIONS

1. Combining Bio- and Chemo-Catalysis for the Conversion of Bio-Renewable Alcohols:
Homogeneous Iridium Catalysed Hydrogen Transfer Initiated Dehydration of 1,3-
Propanediol to Aldehydes.
Authors : Y.M. Wang, F. Lorenzini,M. Rebros, G. C. Saunders, A. C. Marr.

2. Immobilization of cells and enzymes to LentiKats®
Authors : Krasňan V., Stloukal R., Rosenberg M., Rebroš M.

COOPERATION WITH AN ITALIAN BIODIESEL PRODUCER

image 7 NEWSLETTER5 GRAILThe cooperation with the Italian biodiesel producer is going on. The process book of the pilot plant has been completed. The activities for the pilot plant construction can be started.

The GRAIL e-newsletter is available in pdf here: GRAIL_eNewsletter5

GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #4 – July 2016

Project Progress

GRAIL OPEN DAY

The “GRAIL Open Day” was held in March 9, 2016 in Brussels at ENEA’s facilities. The presentation offered the occasion to discuss the opportunities emerging from the project and include more details of the aims, strategies and technical issues related to the research and development in progress. IMG_20160309_110319

The agenda, speakers and photos of the event are available on the website.

DEMONSTRATION

Block diagrams

The preliminary block diagrams, issued at the sixth month of the project, are currently under updating. A quantitative block diagram is under preparation for the following “Food compounds”: vitamin B12, b-carotene, EPA and DHA. EPA has been chosen in substitution of trehalose which has been considered less important. With reference to “Biofuel”,a quantitative block diagram is being prepared for butanol and FAGE as well as for butyric acid/PHA for the “Green Chemicals” group.
Data coming from partners’ experimentation has been collected and used: missing data have been requested. Data coming from literature have been used when lab scale data are not available.
For FAGE, a preliminary estimation of the cost of production has been completed.
The block diagram will be used as reference for the preparation of the Process book for DHA.

1,3-PDO conversion to high value products

The process of extraction of 1.3 PDO and its conversion to high-value products (e.g. propanal) using ionic liquids is currently under development also through a thesis work. The work is carried out in collaboration with QUUB and STUBA. The process development is being performed using the process simulator Aspen Plus and comparing data coming from simulator with data coming from GRAIL partners’ experimental test.

Patent development

A patent application about ethanol production from glycerol based on developed process architecture (Deliverable D5.2) is under discussion. The patent application is referred to overall architecture of the production and recovery of ethanol, starting from glycerol fermentation, through product recovery, till ethanol purification. The patent is going to be agreed with SINTEF for the aspects related to gas stripping.

Agreement signed with an Italian biodiesel producer

An agreement has been signed with an Italian biodiesel producer to realize a pilot plant inside their facilities: the pilot plant will be designed and installed to convert glycerol to ethanol, based on the preliminary results from GRAIL project. Learn more. The experimentation that will be carried out on the pilot plant will be used as reference for the design of industrial plants based on GRAIL technology.

 

GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #3 – February 2016

Project Progress

 BIOTRANSFORMATION OF GLYCEROL TO BIOFUELS

The biological processes for the biofuel productions are proceeding with the optimization of the different procedures. Hydrogen, ethanol and butanol were produced through different ways of fermentation (batch, fed-batch and continuous), using different type of crude glycerol as substrates.
A meeting among WP2 partners will be held on the 3th to the   5th of February at Norwegian University of Science and Technology with the aim of transfer the gas stripping technology from SINTEF to ENEA and STUBA.  As a result, the gas-stripping, as a promising system for controlling the inhibitory effects of hydrogen, ethanol and butanol, will be adapted to the different strategies for the crude glycerol valorization.

DEMOSTRATION

A dedicated task-force (with complementary competences in biology, chemistry and engineering) has been created in order to identify the major bottlenecks associated with large scale production of low added value compounds from glycerol (biofuels or intermediates for the chemical industries). The simultaneously low concentration of the product and high dilution required for glycerol in water to enable biochemical conversion limit the overall efficiency of the system. The primary objective is to find alternative solutions to develop cost and energy efficient processes that minimize energy consumption and reduce water consumption.

ENVIRONMENTAL CREDENTIALS AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

The preliminary LCA and LCC results for converting glycerol into 1,3-propanediol (green chemical) and n-butanol (biofuel) based on the available mass and energy balances has been achieved. The results of the bio-based products are compared to their current reference products to show their dis-/advantageousness regarding their environmental impacts and costs, check out cohensecurity.com. The future location of the glyceral conversion plant has also been investigated. According to the glycerol geographical availibility and the transport infrastructures, Rotterdam region was firsly chosen and will be confirmed after evaluation of other criteria (environmental cost of the electicity consumption, labor costs, etc.).

GRAIL OPEN DAY EVENT

The partners of the GRAIL consortium are actually involved in organizing the GRAIL Open Day event, a public event which will be held in Brussels in March 9, 2016. The presentation is expected to offer an excellent occasion to become acquainted with and to discuss about the opportunities emerging form this European project funded by the European Commission, and will include different lectures which will present relevant details of the aims, strategies and technical issues related to the research and development being undertaken.

 GRAIL has also published one paper:

Combining Bio- and Chemo-Catalysis for the Conversion of Bio-Renewable Alcohols: Homogeneous Iridium Catalysed Hydrogen Transfer Initiated Dehydration of 1,3-Propanediol to Aldehydes.

Authors: Yue-Ming Wang, Fabio Lorenzini, Martin Rebros, Graham C. Saunders,
and Andrew C. Marr.

For more information, please contact:

Institut Univ de Ciencia i Tecnologia, S.A.

pic 6

Main contact: Roberto Horcajada
Email: [email protected]

Please download the e-newsletter#3 here: [GRAIL] #3 e-Newsletter – February 2016

GRAIL – Publishable Summary of the first 18 months

Project context and main objectives

GRAIL is a glycerol-based biorefinery project aimed at providing high quality chemical products from cheap and abundant crude glycerol through highly integrated conversion technologies.

  1. Why is glycerol an important bio-based chemical?

Crude glycerol is by far the most abundant bio-based chemical in the world economy. The reason is found in the current biodiesel manufacturing system where crude glycerol is generated as a major by-product. A total amount of 203 biodiesel plants are operational in Europe which account for a total capacity of 20.24 Mt/a for biodiesel and a concomitant 2.02 Mt/a capacity for crude glycerol. In addition to these plants there are 101 plants that are not in operation due to economic constraints, 11 under construction and 32 planned. It has been estimated that a crude glycerol potential of 828,000 t/a is realistic in the EU. Such a large production level exceeds the current consumption of glycerol in the market segment of highly valued chemicals.

  1. The GRAIL biorefinery approach is based on highly integrated conversion processes that transform cheap and abundant crude glycerol into value added energy products and performance chemicals

Biorefineries have been proposed as the most efficient chemical conversion system for biomass feedstocks. The possibility to transform cheap bio-based feedstocks, in the range of 30-300 €cent/kg, into a variety of chemical products in the range of thousands of €cent/kg is the defining feature of biorefineries. The GRAIL fundamental objective is Continue reading

GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #2 – July 2015

The GRAIL project is a 48-month Collaborative Project with funding by the European  commission under FP7 Programme for Knowledge Based Bio-Economy. The GRAIL project has been built with 15 partners from 9 different countries with the aim of finalising the solutions given previously to the valorization of glycerol and transform then in valuable products in a biorefinery approach.

Glycerol Biorefinery Approach for the Production of High Quality Products of Industrial Value

The global production and consumption of biodiesel is continually increasing, resulting in a stoichiometric increased generation of crude glycerol, due to its co-production in the transesterification process. As a consequence, a vast amount of raw glycerol is generated each year and its value on market is being reduced.
The point of becoming a “waste-stream” rather than a valuable “coproduct”. Glycerol prices fell, generating a bankruptcy of companies that produce glycerol chemically, reducing 10 times the price of glycerol in the market.

Concept of the project

GRAIL project is born aiming to produce a replicable methodology for using economic and scientific arguments to overcome the main scientific, technological and economical barriers to consider crude glycerol as a suitable feedstock for the production of economically value added products. To date, there is no real use for raw glycerol besides from calorific valorisation, which led to an accumulation and as storage or expend as waste cost for the biodiesel corporations. GRAIL, therefore, proposes a “green process” designed for the manufacture of various high value products and biofuels from glycerol side-streams. The GRAIL consortium is focused on the development of known and new types of applications using glycerol as the starting material and this project aims to develop a set of technologies for converting that waste glycerol from biodiesel into 1,3 propanediol, Fatty acid glycerol formal esters, PolyHydroxyAlkanoates (PHA), Hydrogen and Ethanol, Synthetic coatings, powder coating, resins, Secondary Glycerol Amines, Biobutanol, Trehalose, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), ß-carotene, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and other products.

Project Activities Overview

  • 1. EVALUATION OF RAW MATERIAL SUPPLY, CONDITIONING OF THE STARTING MATERIALS

The GRAIL project aims to convert crude glycerol occurring from the biodiesel process to valuable products in the fields of biofuels, green chemicals and food supplements. Within the activities of WP 1 the availability of crude glycerol is investigated and the requirements of this feedstock for the conversion processes are defined. The development of a purification step for the crude glycerol is discussed in order to meet these requirements. Furthermore, first plant layouts are developed and initial mass and energy balances are prepared for the conversion processes.

In order to determine the amount of crude glycerol available in an acceptable distance, the total amount of biodiesel plants in Europe was determined. The detailed status of the 347 European plants is presented in Figure 1.

pic 1
Regarding the operational plants, Continue reading

GRAIL Consortium Meeting – Rome (IT) – October 2014

The GRAIL Consortium Meeting took place in Roma on 28th and 29th October and was hosted by the partner ENEA.

photo 2The purpose of this Consortium Meeting was to discuss about strategic and operational issues of the first year of the project. Each WP leader and task leader introduced the work performed during these first 12 months, the deviations (if any), and their conclusions. The main aspects of the next coming actions have been discussed.

 

photo 4 photo 1

 

 

GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #1 – September 2014

Project Activities Overview

Evaluation of raw material supply, conditioning of the starting materials

A database of biodiesel plants in Europe and worldwide was updated and it will be created maps and questionnaires which will be included with site qualifications, contact details of other biodiesel plants, modification proposal, etc). Another task which is being developed is the analysis of characteristis of available glycerol. At this stage, the coordination of the procurement of relevant glycerol specifications is completed and the procurement of technical and economic requirements of the targeted products are working on it.
Glycerol treatment for further processing is another task which is being carried on with experiments regarding ionic exchange agents and high vacuum distillation.

Glycerol-to-Biofuels

Optimization of a process developed by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) about hydrogen and ethanol production from crude glycerol streams, based on mixed microbial culture biotechnology.
Batch experiments with no other nutrients than glycerol concentration; PUCV: It is been determined the effect of glycerol concentration in the hydrogen and ethanol production, using batch experiments with a synthetic feeding with pure-glycerol (5, 10, 20, 30 or 50 g l-1) containing macro and micronutrients (Table 1). The first results show that higher concentrations of glycerol have a negative effect on the hydrogen yield but not on the ethanol concentration. It was determined the effect of different pretreatments of inoculum on the hydrogen and ethanol production, using a Continuous Stirred Tank Reactors (CSTR). The reactor was inoculated using different sludge (Activated Sludge or Anaerobic Sludge) with and without pretreatment (thermal shock or aeration). The start-up of the operation in the reactor was considered to have a low HRT for biokinetic control. The reactor was fed with glycerol at 10gL-1 and the synthetic feeding medium also contained salts and minerals. The aerobic sludge has an advantage over anaerobic sludge in terms of ethanol production but not with biohydrogen production, where yields were not significantly different and the microbial structure is determined by the biokinetic control with the pretreatments studied.

2

Table 1. Synthetic effluent composition used in hydrogen production.

The preliminary results show that Continue reading

Kick off Meeting of the GRAIL Project consortium

The kick-off meeting of the GRAIL consortium took place in Barcelona in the 23th and 24th of last january and was hosted by the Project Coordinator IUCT, Spain.
It aimed to bring together all partners of the GRAIL project in order to get to know each other better and to discuss strategic and operational issues of the project implementation.
The core session on methodology refining helped partners to get a better understanding of the project’s methodology, to exchange ideas, to identify ways to support the policy dialogue, to start discussions on the call for proposals and on pilot actions, and to discuss the approach for collaboration with relevant stakeholders.