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Information @ a Glance

General 
  • Glycerol, also well known as glycerin and glycerine, and less commonly as propane-1,2,3-triol, 1,2,3-propanetriol, 1,2,3- trihydroxypropane, glyceritol, and glycyl alcohol is a colorless, odorless, hygroscopic, and sweet-tasting viscous liquid. Glycerol is a sugar alcohol and has three hydrophilic alcoholic hydroxyl groups (-OH) that are responsible for its solubility in water. Glycerol is prochiral.
  • Glycerin dissolves many vegetable exudations and resinous substances. It does not dissolve sugar or gum, but readily mixes with syrups and mucilages. It is insoluble in fatty matter, and can only be incorporated with it mechanically, to effect which it is necessary that the fat should have a soft consistence, which may be imparted to it by combination with oil of sweet almonds, or some other fixed oil. Glycerin mixes with acetic acid; moistens bodies without rendering them greasy, does not become rancid, and is easily charged with the aroma of volatile oils.

Distillation  Of Glycerine

  • Hydrolysis is the basic production step; the fats and oils are split into crude glycerine and a mixture of crude fatty acids, under the combined action of water, temperature and pressure. The temperature exceeds 200C and the products are kept under pressure for more than 20 minutes.
  • The initial glycerine phase and the washing waters from the ester cleaning are mixed and sorted in a 8 hour storage tank. Methanol is firstly removed in an evaporator and the glycerine phase is neutralised by batch and by addition of sulphuric acid. Fatty acids are separated in a decanter and the flow enter a new column for a vacuum concentration which removes a new mixture of methanol and water. The glycerine is finally extracted with 30 % of water and 5 % sodium sulphate.

Applications

  • Glycerine can make your products smoother, richer, moister and fresher. It plays an important role in food and beverage products by adding humectancy to dried fruits, reducing water activity in cookies and snack fillings, and making gum more chewable. Its unique properties enable to improve foods and beverages by acting as: Additives to reduce water activity, Emulsifiers as monoglycerides for food preparations, especially baked goods, Heat transfer mediums for frozen foods, Humectants, Smoothing agents, Solvents for food flavoring and colorings, Sweeteners (glycerine is about 75% as sweet as sucrose)

Markets

  • Glycerol can also be derived from the petrochemical industry where it is made from propylene via epichlorohydrin and is normally known as synthetic glycerine. The increasing supply of glycerol from the oleochemical industry, the high price of propylene and the good demand for epichlorohydrin to synthesize more profitable compounds have together made synthetic glycerine less important in the market. Key players have already pulled out of the synthetic glycerine market and the market is in a severe decline.

  • The outlook for the global glycerine market is uncertain. There is strong growth in demand, especially in Asia and spot demand is high. However, the European oversupply problem is driving down prices to their bottom level which for crude glycerine will be feasibly $0 per tonne in Europe, i.e, it will become a waste product. Refined glycerine will not fall below a floor of roughly $350 per tonne because if prices fell lower the industry would become unsustainable. It is also possible to burn glycerine for its calorific value. This situation will lead to industry consolidation and will affect both small and large players alike. It is expected that several companies will be forced out of the market.

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