A bright prospect of turning by-product of producing biofuels source of fuel, and many important matters is seen now.
The problem arises from glyerol, the by-product of biofuel production.
Though some of it could be food and pharmaceutical industry source, most of glycerol is disposed of incineration.
Now British researchers has discovered a chemical way to change glycerol into hydrogen gases. Under controlled pressure and temperature, with presence of catalyst, the glycerol is mixed with steam to generate hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas is a fuel for motors powered by hydrogen-oxygen battery. Such a process of making hydrogen from glycerol is another new application of glycerol. We could hardly do that before discovery is made due to technical problems, .
To make polymers from glycerol is another application . Cardiff University researching team is working on this project. Were the experiment of polymerisation from glycerol to be successful, there could be another ingredient for making polymers, the plastic bags.
It can be expected that the people's reliance on heavy-carbon faction of oil shall diminish. Glycerol is cheaper than oil, in terms of extraction prices.
Thus the price of making polymers shall drop with an increase in supply of polymers. But arising is the environmental pollution problem which more plastic bags will be thrown as they are cheaper than now
The guardian report on that is here:
Sweet answer to a fuel problem
Scientists are developing techniques to turn waste glycerol from biofuels into high-value hydrogen gas
The Guardian, Thursday December 4 2008
Thanks to William who had made an effort to make the points very clear for us:
Where does it comes from?
By-product of biodiesel production
What is its present use?
Some of it can be food and pharmaceutical industry source, while most is disposed of incineration.
What could be its new application?
Generating hydrogen gases and making plastic bags and other things useful.
How can it generate hydrogen gases?
Under controlled pressure and temperature, the glycerol is mixed with steam to generate hydrogen gas with presence of catalyst.
What is the significance of conversion of hydrogen gases from glycerol?
Compared with methane, the present ingredient for making hydrogen gas, glycerol has a higher hydrogen content. Glycerol has a formula of C3H5(OH)3. That is, it is a molecule of three carbon atoms with eight hydrogen and three oxygen atoms. Methane, however, consists of a carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms. So, conversion of hydrogen gases from glycerol could be a new supply source of hydrogen gas, that is in high demand in fuel-cell and fuel
How can it produce plastic bags and other daily necessities?
Glycerol can be converted into valuable monomers for plastics production, biodegradable solvents and even fragrances
What is the significance of production of necessities?
Bio-degradable polymers or paints solvents may be produced. This could be an alternative to present plastic bags, paints and many things not degenerated in natural means. With the introduction of these materials, it could save the environment from further contamination.
Moreover, the human over-reliance on petrochemical products, the materials for plastic bags, paints, shall no long exist. Human has become more sensitive with the environmental impact brought by these materials. They shall prefer a environmentally friendly material to contaminating one for use in handbags, paints..