Ceimici Novel: The beauty of glycidol

By Neil Rodrigues, Ceimici Novel | April 08, 2021

Ceimici Novel’s approach to biodiesel production has seen the technology company’s strategic vision turn heads and asks producers to weigh up a future where a new molecule could turn the industry on its head.                  

Donal Doherty, the founder of Ceimici Novel, is a former Loctite employee and senior research chemist, who developed Loctite’s most successful products. The philosophy of technical discovery where at first no apparent need may exist is ingrained in Doherty. When Loctite suggested to its customers “a non-mechanical solution to a mechanical problem,” their client-engineers and designers viewed the company’s proposals as practically heretical. ‘’A substance that solidifies within minutes, in the absence of air. Impossible!’’ It wasn’t long before Loctite became a by-word for the state-of-the-art method for bonding, sealing or locking metal parts. Doherty went on to be awarded the Krieble prize from Loctite for his part in the company’s success.

A biodiesel revolution

Ceimici Novel is Doherty's very own start-up. Begun in 2009, Dohertyhas spent much of his time developing and honing processes that continue to break the rules and defy logic. For the past 11 years, Ceimici Novel has been quietly revolutionising biodiesel production by introducing streamlined processes, adopting unconventional catalysis and showing that this much vaunted renewable can be manufactured far more cost-effectively.

Rising feedstock prices

Biodiesel producers are faced with significant problems in the coming years. The inexorable rise of renewable diesel plants has shifted the demand curve to an extent that the price of feedstocks for biodiesel production has been climbing significantly. Whether your plant uses waste oils, used cooking oils, yellow grease or tallow, the pressure on buying in quality feedstocks at a cost that makes the transesterification process equally cost-effective is mounting to an extent that something will have to give. Bio producers may have to look elsewhere.

Ingenious FFA reduction

Ceimici Novel has perfected a method to reduce the FFA content in biodiesel feedstocks to below 0.2 percent using glycidol. So what? Glycidol isn’t a widely available material, it’s expensive and the more you need to reduce the FFA, the more glycidol you need. Not so if you can make the glycidol yourself, in your own biodiesel plant. Ceimici Novel has developed the technology to manufacture glycidol, from glycerol.

Casting a wider feedstock net

Astute biodiesel producers will be able to manufacture glycidol by synthesising their waste glycerol. This will enable producers to buy in FFAs of much higher concentrations at lower prices and utilise glycidol as an FFA reduction chemical. However, glycidol is a far more versatile molecule than to be characterised as just a means to reduce FFAs.


Environmental impact

Glycidol is an elegant molecule, and an environmentally sound replacement for epichlorohydrin (ECH) with forecast sales of $3.67 billion by 2027[1]. The manufacture of epoxides from glycidol involves reaction of the chosen ester with glycidol at 60-70 degrees Celsius under mild vacuum (200-500mbar) to aid removal of methanol. The process is environmentally sound without any salt production (waste disposal) or water treatment.

Investors in this technology will be well-placed to redefine how a wide range of products are made in the future, providing financially, environmentally and technologically unparalleled advantages.

‘’Ceimici Novel estimates gross margins of up to 65 percent for specialist derivatives with the added advantage of being chlorine and bisphenol-A free. The impact on the traditional fossil-fuel derived industry with its predominantly Asian hegemony, will be earth-shattering,’’ says Noel Chivers, the company’s global sales lead.



Market Disruptor Required?

Ceimici Novel is seeking to upscale the production of glycidol by partnering with suitable candidate companies in North America, Asia and Europe. The company is particularly interested in working with potential stakeholders that already bring experience of production, marketing and distribution of biodiesel where the co-production of glycerol forms an integral part of their existing strategic development and where there is a motivation to break into wholly new markets. Companies in this sector may be part of larger, multinational groups with extensive presence and experience in agribusiness, soybean oil, crude palm oil, used cooking oil, refined oils and coconut oil. Organisations whose portfolio of companies comprise biodiesel plants, free fatty acid handling capability, distribution and existing onward markets for glycerol would be well-placed to add value by adopting Ceimici Novel’s process for the synthesis of glycerol into glycidol.

Biodiesel and Renewables Summit

The Ceimici Novel team is scheduled to present this technology at the forthcoming Biodiesel and Renewables Summit as part of the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Des Moines, Iowa in mid-July. If you’re interested in talking directly to us beforehand, please get in touch.



Noel Chivers - Europe/Asia

Neil Rodrigues  - USA/Canada/SouthAmerica

[1] https://www.veh.com/product/epichlorohydrin-ech-market/


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