Continuous Production of Bio-Butanol from Biodiesel Crude Glycerol

UAH-P-11012-Continuous Production of Bio-Butanol from Biodiesel Crude Glycerol

Docket: UAH-P-11012


The sharp rise in world biodiesel production has created a glut of glycerol, which is a byproduct of the transesterification process. The glycerol produced by the biodiesel facilities is crude or impure. And as such, it is considered a waste product with very few uses in its unpurified state.

There have been numerous attempts at converting this crude glycerol to bio-butanol. However, due to the impurities, conversion has not been very efficient nor can it be done in a continuous process, until now.

Researchers at UAH and the University of Rhode Island have developed a new technology that allows for efficient conversion of crude glycerol to bio-butanol. By carefully taking into consideration the impurities in the glycerol, they have developed a technology that is able to convert between 50-70% of the crude glycerol to bio-butanol. The technology also lends itself to a continuous process.


  • Biodiesel plants


  • Cost efficient
  • Glycerol is no longer a waste product
  • Alternative revenue stream from the bio-butanol byproduct


  • State of Development: Lab scale demonstration
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patent pending