Biodiesel Glycerol Waste Byproduct as Potential Feedstock for Production of Biofuel

Principal Investigators

  • Dr. James F. Graves
    University of Detroit Mercy

Project Dates:

09/01/2009 to 11/30/2010

Project year: Year 1

MIOH-UTC Project Identifier: AF 31

Focus Area:

  • Educational: Alternative Fuels


In making biodiesel from plant and animal oils, glycerol is a byproduct.  The biodiesel is burned in engines but the supply of glycerol, which is not a biofuel, exceeds the demand.  It may be possible for some microbes that utilize biodiesel glycerol byproduct to make biofuel.  Glycerol byproduct will be tested for sterility, and components other than glycerol, that are toxic or can serve as nutrients for microbes.  Selected microbes of interest to biofuel research which are likely to utilize pure glycerol will be assessed for ability to utilize glycerol byproduct as a carbon source.  These include Escherichia, Klebsiella, Clostridium and Streptomyces species.  Culture will be attempted in differential, and minimal media, and under anaerobic conditions by use of the Oxyrase enzyme system.  Growth will be assessed by colony count assay or culture optical density (OD).   It will be determined which microbes would be worth further investigation in the making of biofuel.  Undergraduate students assisting with the project will receive a valuable educational experience in laboratory investigations.  Topics for laboratory exercises dealing with biofuel technology are expected to be identified for use in laboratory courses.

Reports, Presentations, Papers


Final Report:


Total Budget: $19,768