Main ideas

???????The origin of the GRAIL project lies in the usage of previously achieved knowledge in different already finished projects (e.g.GLYFINERY or PROPANERGY) and integrating that knowledge with new one, herein generated to use waste-glycerol as a carbon source for biotechnological applications. Glycerol is not only cheap and abundant, but its greater degree of reduction, compared with C5 and C6 carbohydrates, offers the opportunity to obtain reduced chemicals at a higher yield. On other hands, glycerol can be readily oxidized, halogenated, etherified, and esterified to obtain alternative commodity chemicals. Glycerol has the advantages of being readily

Previous European projects and a growing number of studies focusing on marketable uses for waste-glycerol have proposed several isolated approaches, but their results have failed to integrate a process to resolve the main barriers for the valorisation of this co-product. GRAIL project is born aiming to produce a replicable methodology for using economic and scientific arguments to overcome the main scientific, technological and economical barriers to consider crude glycerol as a suitable feedstock for the production of economically valueadded products.

To date, there is no real use for raw glycerol besides from calorific valorisation, which led to an accumulation and as storage or expend as waste cost for the biodiesel corporations, but because of the abundance of glycerol from biodiesel production and the will to continue with renewable energies, there has been major exploration as to uses for glycerol (Leray, 2010). GRAIL, therefore, proposes a “green process” designed for the manufacture of various high value products and biofuels from glycerol side-streams.

The GRAIL consortium is focused on the development of known and new types of applications using glycerol as the starting material. Reactions that already have been extensively applied to convert glycerol into new molecules, such as oxidations, reductions, dehydrations, etherifications, esterifications, etc., will be replaced by biotransformations, at least in some stage of the process and thereby establish a green biorefinery.

This project’s aim is to develop a set of technologies for converting waste glycerol from biodiesel production.Our approach include the transformation of glycerol into:

  • 1,3 propanediol
  • Fatty acid glycerol formal esters
  • PolyHydroxyAlkanoates (PHA)
  • Hydrogen and Ethanol
  • Synthetic coatings, powder coating
  • resins
  • Secondary Glycerol Amines
  • Biobutanol
  • Trehalose
  • Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
  • ß-carotene
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Other products

This aim encompasses the following scientific objectives:

  • Review of the state of the art of Commodity Chemicals Derived from Glycerol.
  • Parallel research into completely new options to replace purely chemical transformations by  Biotransformations or chemoenzymatic processes.
  • Identification of least 15 Commodity Chemicals and Biofuels to launch the platform.
  • Generation of at least 1 prototype biorefinery for integral use of glycerol as a feedstock for the production of economically value-added products and biofuels.
  • Integral life-cycle analysis and the evaluation of the ecological effects of the glycerol processing to value added products (food additives, green chemicals and biofuels).
  • Integration of Biodiesel and “Bio-Commodity” chemicals production Processes


  • Review of technical glycerol potential from biodiesel production and availability for improved cascading in Europe

    May 2, 2017

    The article entitled: “Review of technical glycerol potential from biodiesel production and availability for improved cascading in Europe” has been published and is available online. Authors: André Brosowski (DBFZ), Stephanie Hauschild (DBFZ), Karin Naumann (DBFZ), Jens Hösel (DBFZ), Daniela Thrän (Helmholtz Centre for environmental research), Type of publication: Article – Research Paper Date: April 2017 Publication: […]


  • 42M Progress Meeting – April 26 to 28, 2017 – Leipzig (Germany)

    April 11, 2017

    All the project partners will be hosted by DBFZ in Leipzig (Germany) from April 26 to 28, 2017. This is a good opportuny to discuss about the project advancement after the last Consortium Meeting which took place from October 12 to 14, 2016 in Hurtigruten, Bergen – Trondheim, Norway. Agenda available here: GRAIL_42M_Agenda     […]


  • GRAIL e-NEWSLETTER #5 – February 2017

    February 22, 2017

    PROJECT SUMMARY GRAIL : GLYCEROL BIOREFINERY APPROACH FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS OF INDUSTRIAL VALUE GRAIL is a 48-months collaborative project funded by the European Commission, under the FP7 Programme for Knowledge Based Bio-Economy. The topic of GRAIL project is “Preventing and valorizing bio-waste in biorefineries optimal and cost-effective industrial biocatalysts”. What’s inside […]


  • D2-2 – Operating parameters for batch experiments

    January 5, 2017

    Main Objectives To provide information about operational parameters at batch configurations such as, the effect of inoculum, addition of nutrients, pH control and substrate concentration to improve hydrogen and ethanol production  Main Outcomes According to the results, the selected inoculum was sludge from an aerobic wastewater treatment plant and an aerobic pretreatment. Also, it was […]