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Bio Diesel Plant Glycerol Converter To Butanol Fermentor


Our partner auctioneer is
Peaker Pattinson
Part of an Auction
Pera Auction
Lot ID
Bio Diesel Reactor
Year of Manufacture
Sept 2014
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK


The biodiesel market has grown at a huge rate since 2000, thanks mainly to legislation, rising costs of fossil fuels and desire by consumers to become more green and sustainable.

However, in recent years, the scrapping of duty incentives and a revision of the Renewable Energy Directive has put the biodiesel industry under pressure . Producers need to find ways to increase efficiency and improve margins.

The problem is the transesterification process that converts oils and fats into biodiesel also yields a by-product of crude glycerol of 10-20% output volume. Crude glycerol is classified as a hazardous waste and has little value because of over supply. The solution is to convert the crude glycerol into a high value product Butanol so that biodiesel producers can improve their margins.

Crude glycerol can be refined by multi-step distillation and the resultant glycerol has applications in the food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. However, this is an expensive and energy intensive process due to the high heat capacity of glycerol and it is only viable on a large-scale. Therefore the majority of producers have to dispose of their crude Glycerol.

Butanol is an attractive bio fuel that can be blended as an additive to biodiesel or used as a substitute for petrol. The bacterium Clostridium Pasteurianum has been shown to convert crude glycerol directly into Butanol by fermentation.

But there is 3% limit on the concentration of butanol that can be produced before it becomes toxic to microorganisms and separating the two requires distillation. This is not economically viable because Butanol boils at 117 °C ; all of the water would have to be boiled off to recover just 3% of butanol.

Certain Ionic Liquids (ILs) can selectively extract small organic molecules and are immiscible with water. Consequently, by passing ILs through the fermentation broth, it is possible to extract Butanol and keep the concentration below the toxic limit of 3%. Using an extraction ratio of 20:1 (Butanol:IL) , roughly half of the Butanol can be extracted in one pass. ILs are denser than water and will phase separate at the bottom of the tank.

As ILs can hold up to 33 x their volume in Butanol , it allows for economical distillation. In addition , ILs don't boil or evaporate, so a higher purity of butanol can be recovered and the ILs reused as extraction solvents. 

This complete installation is a proven system that reduces the cost of biodiesel production and is better for the environment. 

Equipment includes:

Corema Chiller PC /AV/E 20s
Serial: LM8109
415 volt 3ph 50hz 25amp
20 litre tank
External: 1180 1180 x 2200
Weight: 400kgs

Control Panel
External: 560 x 620 x 1650

External: 2000 x 1750 x 2850

Control Panel
External: 1350 x 650 x 2200

Storage/ Buffer Tank 
External: 1150 x 2500 x 1950



pdf icon Print / Download Bio Diesel Plant Glycerol Converter To Butanol Fermentor Datasheet