COOPERATIVE DOUBLE BIOCATALYST FOR BIOREFINERY
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR WASTE GLYCEROL CONVERSION
INTO VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS IN THE POLYMERIC INDUSTRY
Project acronym: BIO-GLY-CAT
Competition/Project ID: PN-II-PT-PCCA--2013-4-0848
Nr. proiect: 273/2014
- Institutul de Biologie Bucuresti al Academiei Romane
- Universitatea din Bucureşti
- Institutul de Cercetari Produse Auxiliare Organice, ICPAO Medias
Project Coordinator: Institutul de Biologie Bucuresti al Academiei Romane
Project responsible from ICPAO: ing. Olimpiu Blajan
BioGlyCat proposes to develop a new design for catalysts under the name of cooperative double biocatalyst, which has a design based on the synergism of coupling two types of enzymes (lipase and decarboxylase) in the same heterogeneous catalytic structure. BioGlyCat shapes the proposed catalyst for biorefining processes which consist in waste glycerol conversion into value-added products in industry (eg. glycerol carbonate-GlyC, glycidol- GlyD and polyglycerol).
Waste glycerol represents the main by-product obtained in large quantities (eg. 2,4 kt of glycerol for biodiesel production only in 2012) in the manufacture process of biodiesel. This product begins to be a problem for effective/cost ratio of the biodiesel process.
Despite the fact that glycerol molecule through its structure has a multitude of applications (glycerol - molecule platform), waste glycerol has no value to the synthesis industry due to impurities contained (methanol, water, soap, salts). Also, the purification of waste glycerol is not a feasible alternative. Lack of proper management for waste glycerol leads to the decrease of interest for biodiesel industry due to high production costs and the increased risk of environmental pollution by large stocks of glycerol.
In this context, BioGlyCat proposes a biocatalytic conversion of glycerol assisted by a cooperative double biocatalyst (enzyme cocktail - lipase and decarboxylase) in a heterogeneous format (enzymes immobilized on solid support). Corresponding biocatalytic process takes place in two successive steps: 1) the carbonylation of glycerol with dimethyl carbonate and obtaining GlyC in the presence of lipase and 2) transforming GlyC in GlyD and then to polyglycerol, process catalyzed by the decarboxylase. BioGlyCat aims to create a biocatalytic system for polyglycerol synthesis which will operate in continuous flow mode. This system will play a prototype role in a pilot plant implementation. The development of polyglycerol synthesis at industrial-scale will constitute an advantage presented by BioGlyCat project for industrial companies. Both prototype and pilot unit will be tested in real conditions using as raw material glycerol obtained directly from the biodiesel process (waste glycerol). It will be carried out a detailed study on the effects of residual glycerol matrix (impurities) on the biocatalytic process efficiency.
BioGlyCat launches an idea of a new sustainable, competitive, green and efficient technology to produce glycerol derivatives (e.g. GlyC, GlyD and polyglycerol) with applicability in polymer industry. In addition, BioGlyCat is a real alternative for biodiesel market by suggesting the use of waste glycerol, which results from biodiesel process, in the synthesis of important chemicals for the polymer industry.
BioGlyCat proposes the development of research collaboration between the public sector represented by the Institute of Biology (CO), the University of Bucharest (P1), and private sector represented by ICPAO (P2). Thus, laboratory knowledge and expertise of academic units will be synergistically completed by the industrial-scale expertise of the SME. The Consortium structure is meant to ensure the high quality of proposed research and development on the basis of international recognition of CO and P1 partners and the efficient valorizing of end products generated in the project BioGlyCat, resulting from the interest expressed by industry partner (P2).
Collaboration proposed in BioGlyCat project will allow creating a linkage between public and private sectors, involving economic interest of both parties and a substantial impact on economic agents involved in the polymer industry. Also, BioGlyCat proposes an alternative of "green" synthesis with low toxicity to sustain the environmental protection.