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Integrated bioconversion of glycerine into value-added products and biogas at pilot plant scale (Propanergy)
Start date: 01 Jan 2008, End date: 31 Dec 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This proposal aims at developing an integrated bioprocess to convert technical glycerine from biodiesel production into biogas and two value-added products 1,3-propanediol (PDO) and fertilizer in a biorefinery approach. The process will be developed through laboratory to pilot plant scale and allows an easy integration into a biodiesel or a biogas plant. The project will overcome three major obstacles to the new use of glycerine: (1) partial use of the substrate; (2) inhibition of bioconversion by residual methanol and byproducts of the bioconversion which results in a limited product yield and concentration; (3) high energy costs for the downstream processing. The process has several other advances beyond the state-of-the-art through an integrated use of glycerine and nutrients and energy from biogas production. Briefly, glycerine is first converted into PDO and byproducts in a bioreactor. The byproducts are then converted into biogas which should deliver the necessary energy for product separation. In addition, a stream from the biogas reactor is used to convert residual methanol to biogas and to deliver nutrients for the bioconversion. This novel concept will lead to a complete use of glycerine and methanol residue from biodiesel production for a simultaneous production of energy and value-added products. The replacement of chemical processes and a glucose-based process by PDO from glycerine can reduce green house gas and other environmentally harmful emissions, and create economic benefits and job opportunities in Europe. The project and out-coming technology fulfils many requirements of the EU policies in environmental, economical and social domains. The concept has in particular a high replication potential for SME and allows demonstrating benefits notably for regions with structural deficits. The replication of the innovative technology and the implementation of adapted communication media will assure an European-wide dissemination of the technologies.
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