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Bioresour Technol. 2012 May;111:282-93. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.01.151. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Design and analysis of biorefineries based on raw glycerol: addressing the glycerol problem.

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Instituto de Biotecnología y Agroindustria, Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Manizales, Cra. 27 No. 64-60, Manizales, Colombia.


Glycerol as a low-cost by-product of the biodiesel industry can be considered a renewable building block for biorefineries. In this work, the conversion of raw glycerol to nine added-value products obtained by chemical (syn-gas, acrolein, and 1,2-propanediol) or bio-chemical (ethanol, 1,3-propanediol, d-lactic acid, succinic acid, propionic acid, and poly-3-hydroxybutyrate) routes were considered. The technological schemes for these synthesis routes were designed, simulated, and economically assessed using Aspen Plus and Aspen Icarus Process Evaluator, respectively. The techno-economic potential of a glycerol-based biorefinery system for the production of fuels, chemicals, and plastics was analyzed using the commercial Commercial Sale Price/Production Cost ratio criteria, under different production scenarios. More income can be earned from 1,3-propanediol and 1,2-propanediol production, while less income would be obtained from hydrogen and succinic acid. This analysis may be useful mainly for biodiesel producers since several profitable alternatives are presented and discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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