Environmentally-Friendly Glycerol Disposal Using Bacterial-Mediated Fermentation
Andrew T. Ford1, Bart HJ. van den Berg2, Rafael Hernandez3, William E. Holmes4, and W. Todd French3. (1) School of Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University, 408 11th St. S, Columbus, MS 39701, (2) Department of Basic Sciences, Mississippi State University, Box 6100, Mississippi State, MS 39762, (3) Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University, PO Box 9595, Mississippi State, MS 39762, (4) Mississippi State Chemical Lab, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 39762
In the search for alternative energy sources, biodiesel has become the most popular alternative fuel source. Glycerol is the by-product formed in current biodiesel production processes and has little market value. We aim to convert glycerol into other valuable industrial chemicals through bacterial-mediated fermentation. Under anaerobic conditions, and varying concentrations of bacterial cells, glycerol conversion was monitored using GC-FID. Reaction kinetics were examined based on the concentrations of formed products. Our primary results show that an initial glycerol concentration of 25g/L can be converted into a 2g/L concentration of acetic acid and a resulting glycerol concentration of 19g/L. Conversion of glycerol into butanoic and propanoic acid has also been observed. Determination of reaction kinetics would allow us to optimize this method for efficient glycerol conversion, which provides an environmentally friendly, cost efficient means of glycerol disposal, and could represent a valuable attribute to the biodiesel production pipeline.