French researcher honored with 2017 Glycerine Innovation Award

By Ron Kotrba | May 02, 2017

Christophe Len, full Professor at the Université de Technologie Compiègne – UTC (France), has won this year’s Glycerine Innovation Award, a yearly honor sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute and the National Biodiesel Board. The award was presented at the annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society May 2.  

The Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerin, with particular emphasis on commercial viability. 

Len’s research was developed in the context of increased global biodiesel production, as glycerin is a byproduct of the transesterification process. To help make biodiesel production more economical, the conversion of crude glycerin to value-added commodities was studied.

“Crude glycerol, available at low cost compared with pure glycerol, has purity of 15 to 80 percent and contains a large amount of contaminants,” said Len. “These impurities, in this renewable carbon source, create certain challenges for the conversion process. Within my research team, we are focusing on developing new catalysts, alternative technologies and processes to convert pure glycerol and crude glycerin to value-added products. Varying the nature of the materials, the designs of the reactor, the possibilities to work under high temperatures and pressures are new avenues to explore in the future. Chemists and chemical engineers have the means to pave the way to a more widespread implementation of green chemistry for the production of industrially relevant products in the future.”

Prof. Dr. Len’s scientific work has been published in almost 140 original international publications and review articles, three chapters and eight patents including publications in high-profile journals such as Chemical Reviews, Energy & Environmental Science, Coordination Chemistry Reviews, ChemSusChem, Green Chemistry and ChemCatChem, among others.

The Glycerine Innovation Award includes a certificate and a $5,000 honorarium. It was presented at the AOCS Industrial Oil Products Division luncheon during the AOCS 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.


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