From Glycerol to Green Chemicals Part 2

Read the first part of this article

As promised a few days ago I hereby publish the second part of the article: From Glycerine to Green Chemicals. If you haven’t read the first part, it’s highly recommended to do so.

Propylene Glycol

Archer Daniels Midland (US), one of the largest agricultural processors in the world, runs a 100,000 tons / year facility in Decatur, Illinois which processes glycerine into propylene glycol (1,2 propanediol). The company produces vegetable oil from soybeans or canola seeds that are further processed into refined oil. This oil is transesterified into biodiesel releasing crude glycerine as a by product. This crude glycerine is further purified into pharma grade glycerine or, processed by several steps into industrial grade or USP-specification-grade (United States Pharmacopeia) propylene glycol.

From Glycerine To Green Chemicals

Green Chemicals made from Glycerine


In 2009 the Linde Group announced to set up a plant in Leuna, Germany, that will produce biodiesel first and then use the glycerin byproduct to produce hydrogen for cars. This plant was attempted to come on stream in mid-2010. Unfortunately, it was impossible to figure out whether the plant is built or Linde has declined or postponed its decision. If you any of you have further information about this plant – please comment to this post or write an e-mail!


Since 2006 the Dow Chemical Company runs a pilot plant in Germany for the conversion of glycerine into epichlorohydrin. Dow has announced plans for a world-scale glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin plant in China. The company has signed long term raw materials supply agreements with Shanghai Tian Yuan Huasheng Chemical Co., Ltd. (TYHSC) for its planned 150,000 MTPA glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin (GTE) plant in 2011 at Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP).

Update December 20th: Solvay, the Belgian industrial chemical company, just announced the construction of an epichlorohydrin production plant in Taixing, China, with an initial capacity of 100,000 tons per year. The plant, which is expected to start producing in 2013, will be based on Solvay’s Epicerol® technology. The company has already reserved a construction site in Taixing Economic Development Park.

Update January 24th: Solvay’s glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin technology will also be used by Advanced Biochemical Thailand which is building a 100,000 tons / year plant. This facility will start operation in 2012.

Update January 24th: According to ICIS Pricing, only China based Yang Nong Jiang Su currently uses glycerine as feedstock in its 60,000 tonne/year glycerine-to-epichlorohydrin facility.

Update January 24th: Chinese Fujian Haobang Chemical Industry Co Ltd. completed a 5,000 tons / year epichlorohydrin pilot facility in Longyan, Fujian province. The plant  is supposed to use glycerine as feedstock. The company plans to expand epichlorohydrin capacity to 25,000 tons / year.

Glycerine Carbonate

The American manufacturer of differentiated chemicals Huntsman produces JEFFSOL Glycerine Carbonate which is made out of glycerine derived from biodiesel production. This Glycerine Carbonate is a bio-based specialty chemical useful as a reactive intermediate and as a solvent. It can be polymerized or reacted with isocyanates or acrylates for applications in coatings, adhesives and lubricants. Its excellent solvency also makes it attractive for personal care applications.

And Finally

This collection is intended to be a complete overview of glycerol converting companies. Nevertheless, industrial development is an ongoing process and nowadays, decisions to build production facilities and enter new markets are made and realized very quickly.

If you or anyone you know knows about companies (or works there) dedicated to this topic – already converting glycerine to green chemicals or planning to build such facilities that are not mentioned here – don’t hesitate to contact me to keep this article complete and valuable! Write a comment or go to the about page and use the contact form or write an email to admin(at)

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