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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Project Thesis On BUTANOL PRODUCTION FROM GLYCEROL

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Problem description and Overview: The increase in oil prices has stimulated the production of renewable biofuels, in particular the production of ethanol and biodiesel. The application of the biorefinery concept (i.e obtaining added value products from bioprocess products, by-products and /or waste streams) is gaining importance. This research focuses on the utilization of one of the biodiesel byproducts: glycerol. More precisely, the research focuses on the anaerobic fermentation of glycerol into butanol, relevant physiological aspects of Clostridium pasteurianum that are related to the solvent production.
Project ABSTRACT: The fluctuations in oil prices have stimulated the production of renewable biofuels, in particular the production of bioethanol and biodiesel. The production of biodiesel has expanded almost six fold in the past years. The ten wt% of the biodiesel process results in crude glycerol. Once a valuable product, nowadays glycerol is considered a waste and a surplus material. Its current low price makes it an attractive substrate for a fermentation process. Molecular genetics have unveiled new insights about solvent production in Clostridia. It has been recognized that endospore development and solvent formation share a regulatory mechanism. The solvent production, particularly the butanol fermentation of glycerol by Clostridium pasteurianum was studied. Taking advantage of the characteristics of the sporulation phenotype, the study of the butanol fermentation was approached. A relation between spore formation and butanol production was
found in C. pasteurianum by applying molecular genetics concepts. 
Keywords: Biology, Cell Engineering, Industrial butanol, Clostridium pasteurianum, fermentation, glycerol, replica plating, sporulation.
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