A group of chemical engineers from the University of Missouri have received the 2006 Glycerine Innovation Award from The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Galen Suppes, Ph.D., an associate professor at the university’s college of engineering in Columbia, and his research team were honored at the 97th annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) in St. Louis, Mo., USA, held April 30-May 3, 2006. The award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine with particular emphasis on commercial viability. The fourth annual award, consisting of a US$5,000 honorarium and a plaque, was presented at a dinner meeting of the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division.
The innovation award was presented for research into technologies that convert natural glycerine, derived from conventional biodiesel production, into propylene glycol. According to a press announcement by SDA, the propylene glycol developed from the research is a bio-based, non-toxic and renewable alternative to petroleum-based propylene and ethylene glycols. The product, currently licensed for commercialization, reportedly has the capability to meet additional market growth demands of propylene glycol, which is approximately 150 million pounds per year globally.