Value-Added Processing of Low-Grade Glycerol from Biodiesel Production to Sustain the Industry and Encourage Oil Crop Economy
The excess amount of crude glycerol generated from biodiesel production is becoming the obstacle to the industry. Alternative yet value-added applications have to be found before the biodiesel industry continues to grow stronger and healthier. The crude glycerol from biodiesel production possesses very low value due to the impurities present. Finding new applications of such low grade glycerol becomes an urgent research topic for the biodiesel industry and scientific community. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a technology of hydrothermal conversion of low-grade glycerol into methanol, ethanol, or mix of the two, and applied back to biodiesel production, thus to sustain biodiesel production from solely vegetable oil based feedstock. This ultimate goal will be achieved through objectives of four specific studies. Conducting this
project will contribute greatly to the current knowledge base on alternative utilization of crude glycerol and benefits the whole biodiesel industry. It will also contribute to rural economy by encouraging farmers to grow more oil crops for biodiesel industry. This project will enhance the research capability and continued successfulness on biodiesel research and utilization at the University of Idaho. Most importantly, successful implementation of the project will produce primary alcohols, which is one of the feedstocks for biodiesel production, from renewable resources.