Research to Overcome Bottlenecks to New Uses of Glycerine Receives Innovation Award

Posted on May 6th, 2014

University of Tennessee’s Xiaofei “Philip” Ye Honored with 2014 Glycerine Innovation Award

WASHINGTON – Research aimed at finding ways to overcome roadblocks to industrial production of value-added chemicals from glycerine is being honored with the 2014 Glycerine Innovation Award.

The yearly honor is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and is presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS).

The 2014 honoree is Dr. Xiaofei “Philip” Ye, Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science. The ACI/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.

Dr. Ye undertook his research in response to the rapid growth of the biodiesel industry worldwide resulting in the production of large amounts of glycerine, creating an urgent need to quickly and effectively convert crude glycerine into value-added chemical products.

Three major commodity chemicals that can be derived from glycerine – acrylic acid, lactic acid, and propylene glycol – have attracted extensive research worldwide in recent years. These chemicals serve as building blocks for plastics and polymers that are environmentally friendly, with wide applications in superabsorbent polymers, textile treating agents, adhesives, thermosetting resin, and synthetic fibers.

However, there are still “bottleneck problems” hindering the industrial production of these chemicals from glycerine.

“These bottleneck problems are the use of crude glycerine instead of purified glycerine as feedstock, the catalyst deactivation in the conversion of glycerine, and energy and hydrogen efficiency in the conversion of glycerine,” said Dr. Ye.

“My research focuses on innovative technology development to overcome these bottleneck problems. In addition, I also conducted engineering modeling and economic analysis that justify and promote the use of innovative technologies for the commercial production of value-added chemicals from glycerine.”

Dr. Ye’s recent research in this area has been published in such journals as the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, ChemSusChem, Biofuels, Fuel Processing Technology, and Catalysis Letters.

The Glycerine Innovation Award includes a plaque and a $5,000 honorarium. It was presented at the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division luncheon during the AOCS 2014 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX.

View the press release on the NBB.org site.

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