The conversion of biodiesel derived crude glycerol to n-butanol via anaerobic fermentation pathway, using polyurethane foam immobilized Clostridium pasteurianum cells was studied. Clostridium pasteurianum cells convert glycerol to n-butanol, 1,3-propanediol and ethanol. 10 g/L biodiesel derived crude glycerol as a substrate in buffered media produced 4.32 g/L 1,3-propanediol, 3.85 g/L butanol and 1.61 g/L ethanol. The cells were reused for 5 consecutive cycles and showed significant reusability. The activity for butanol production decreased to half, one third for 1,3-propanediol while the activity for ethanol production became zero after 5 cycles. This is the first report of immobilization of C. pasteurianum cells on reticulated polyurethane foam and their employment in 1,3-Propanediol, butanol and ethanol production from crude glycerol containing feedstock. The results indicate that the biodiesel derived crude glycerol is a valuable feedstock for production of commodity chemicals as well as future fuels.
Keywords: Biobutanol, 1,3-Propanediol, Clostridium pasteurianum, Immobilization