GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #3 – February 2016

Project Progress


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.


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.


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 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.).


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.

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Main contact: Roberto Horcajada
Email: [email protected]

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