Concept of the project

diesel-renovavel-psThe global production and consumption of biodiesel is in continually increasing, resulting in a stoichiometric increased generation of crude glycerol, due to its co-production in the transesterification process (Luque et al., 2008, Luque et al., 2010 and Thompson and He, 2006). As a consequence, a vast amount of raw glycerol is generated each year and its value on market is being reduced to 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 (Dharmadi et al, 2006; Hu et al., 2010; Singhabhandhu et al., 2010).

Crude glycerol is available in numerous countries throughout the world, since biodiesel is produced as a response to governments ‘green initiatives’. The total EU27 biodiesel production for 2010 was over 8 million metric tons (UE, 2011), but to date an effective use for the glycerol derived from biodiesel production does not exist on the market. GRAIL project is targeted to integrate and develop existing and novel bio-technologies in order to use glycerol as a competitive biological feedstock in a biorefinery approach. Utilization of today crude glycerol waste stream will also improve the economics and environmental viability of biodiesel (FAME) production.

The overall concept of GRAIL project is the use, exploitation and further development of the state of the art in the field of bio-based products from glycerol and the development research-driven cluster for the use of crude glycerol for the production of high-value platforms, as well as valued end products, harnessing the biotech processes. Therefore GRAIL project has a strong business focus and its ultimate goal is to set up implantation of biorefineries in close relationship with biodiesel.