(77a) A Commercial Demonstration of Biorefinery of Lipids----Coproduction of Biodiesel and 1,3-Propanediol | AIChE

(77a) A Commercial Demonstration of Biorefinery of Lipids----Coproduction of Biodiesel and 1,3-Propanediol


Liu, D. - Presenter, Tsinghua University

Lipase-catalyzed transesterification (also esterification) from renewable oils for biodiesel production has some advantages over chemical-catalyzed transesterification, such as environmental friendship, lower energy consumption,widely suitable for low quality vegetable oil. However, the low stability due to alcohol and the expensive cost of the lipase had been being regarded as the main hurdle to the industrialization of lipase-catalyzed biodiesel production. Tsinghua University has proposed a novel process to eliminate the inhibition of methanol on lipase, thus the operational life of the immobilized lipase could be improved into more than 300 cycles from several (1-5) cycles at the traditional enzymatic applied process. After the successful demonstration in a pilot plant with capacity of 200kg/day biodiesel, the first commercial facilities with capacity of 30,000ton/year was constructed in Hunan Rivers Bioengineering Co., Ltd, China and it was put into operation on Dec. 8, 2006. On the basis of the promising results of demonstration at a pilot-plan in Brazil, the Brazilian ministry of science and technology decided to support the commercialization of such a new technology in Brazil.

 As a by-product, glycerol will be yielded at about 10% of biodiesel during the process of biodiesel production. More and more concerns are pay on how to utilize glycerol. It could be a promising way to produce 1,3-propanediol (PDO) by fermentation with crude glycerol as feedstock. PDO is a valuable chemical product and especially it could be copolymerized with terephthalic acid (or methyl ester) to form polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT). PTT has excellent properties for textile fibre or plastic, and it was found to have some better properties than other polyesters such as PET, PBT. Tsinghua University has developed a novel flexible process for PDO production by fermentation from glycerol or glucose, and the demonstration was finished in pilot plant at the end of 2003. A facility with capacity of 4,000 tons/year PDO is being run in Hunan Rivers Bioengineering Co. Ltd, China.