Purification of Crude Glycerol and its Conversion to Bio-Chemicals

Researcher: Dr. Ajay. K. Dalai

Project Code: CUP ADF 2013.289 Dalai

Final Report: September 2017

Summary: The presence of impurities decreases the calorific and economic value of glycerol. Thus, glycerol impurities must be greatly reduced if it is to be used as a fuel or feedstock for chemicals. A sequential procedure for crude glycerol refining that includes saponification, acidification, neutralization, membrane filtration, solvent extraction, and activated charcoal absorption was investigated in the present work. In the first phase, dead-end membrane filtration in batch process was studies while in the next phase, tubular membrane filtration in semi-continuous mode was studies. Membrane filtration was studied at temperature and pressure ranges of 25-60 degrees C and 50-350 kPa, respectively. A range of ultra-filtration (UF) and fine ultra-filtration (UFF) (1, 3, 5, 8,and 15 kDa) were utilized to obtain highly enriched glycerol. Membrane filtration at 60 degrees C and 350 kPa using 1 kDa membrane, solvent and water evaporation and activated charcoal treatment produced the maximum concentration of glycerol (97.5%) observed. Acid value and free fatty acid (FFA) content of all treated samples were found to be <1%. Crude, enriched crude (purified) and ACS grade glycerol were characterized using FTIR and bomb calorimeter further confirmed the purity of obtained glycerol.

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