The origin of the GRAIL project lies in the usage of previously achieved knowledge in different already finished projects (e.g.GLYFINERY or PROPANERGY) and integrating that knowledge with new one, herein generated to use waste-glycerol as a carbon source for biotechnological applications. Glycerol is not only cheap and abundant, but its greater degree of reduction, compared with C5 and C6 carbohydrates, offers the opportunity to obtain reduced chemicals at a higher yield. On other hands, glycerol can be readily oxidized, halogenated, etherified, and esterified to obtain alternative commodity chemicals. Glycerol has the advantages of being readily
Previous European projects and a growing number of studies focusing on marketable uses for waste-glycerol have proposed several isolated approaches, but their results have failed to integrate a process to resolve the main barriers for the valorisation of this co-product. 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 valueadded 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, but because of the abundance of glycerol from biodiesel production and the will to continue with renewable energies, there has been major exploration as to uses for glycerol (Leray, 2010). 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. Reactions that already have been extensively applied to convert glycerol into new molecules, such as oxidations, reductions, dehydrations, etherifications, esterifications, etc., will be replaced by biotransformations, at least in some stage of the process and thereby establish a green biorefinery.
This project’s aim is to develop a set of technologies for converting waste glycerol from biodiesel production.Our approach include the transformation of glycerol into:
- 1,3 propanediol
- Fatty acid glycerol formal esters
- PolyHydroxyAlkanoates (PHA)
- Hydrogen and Ethanol
- Synthetic coatings, powder coating
- Secondary Glycerol Amines
- Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Other products
This aim encompasses the following scientific objectives:
- Review of the state of the art of Commodity Chemicals Derived from Glycerol.
- Parallel research into completely new options to replace purely chemical transformations by Biotransformations or chemoenzymatic processes.
- Identification of least 15 Commodity Chemicals and Biofuels to launch the platform.
- Generation of at least 1 prototype biorefinery for integral use of glycerol as a feedstock for the production of economically value-added products and biofuels.
- Integral life-cycle analysis and the evaluation of the ecological effects of the glycerol processing to value added products (food additives, green chemicals and biofuels).
- Integration of Biodiesel and “Bio-Commodity” chemicals production Processes