Volume 8, Issue 4
Published: July 1, 2014
The glycerine glut

At approximately 2,000 years old, glycerine is one of the oldest chemical compounds used by mankind. The glycerine industry has been around for hundreds of years and over that time the supply and demand dynamics have generally changed with population. However, with the advent of biodiesel commercialisation, glycerine production has doubled. It is only in the last decade or so, however, that this has manifested and its impacts are significant. The rise of large-scale transesterification has proven very disruptive as it has produced too much glycerine. A by-product of the biodiesel manufacturing process, glycerine makes up 10% of the methyl ester molecule. There are a number of logical uses for glycerine, namely theatrical successes in laboratories, but few are commercialised to scale. The glycerine market is a very volatile industry; the whims of government and industry grants and subsidies make the market price of energy hard to predict.

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