What is Glycerine?

Glycerine is a by-product of saponified, hydrolyzed or transesterified fats and oils. It was discovered in 1779 by the German-Swedish chemist and pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele during the saponification of olive oil. The name of the liquid is derived from the Greek word glykys, "sweet."

Physically, glycerine is a water-soluble, colorless, odorless, clear and viscous liquid with a high boiling point. Chemically, glycerine is a trivalent alcohol that can be made to react and yet is stable under most conditions. Because of these unusual properties, its good compatibility with many other substances and its ease of processing, glycerine is used in many applications.

In 1854, the English entrepreneur, chemist and plant breeder George Fergusson Wilson developed a process to synthesize glycerine on an industrial scale. Today, it is generally refined by distillation after extraction in its raw state.

Glycerin, Glycerine or Glycerol?

All names are correct and trivial names for a substance that chemically correctly, according to UIPAC nomenclature, is called propane-1,2,3-triol. The most common name is glycerine. The name glycerol is also frequently used. It has the correct suffix "-ol" for an alcohol (the suffix "-in" stands for alkynes or amines). Glycerine is a sugar alcohol and the simplest trivalent alcohol, a so-called triol.

Depending on the application or labeling standard, other terms are used for glycerine: The correct molecular formula is C3H8O3. Its CAS number is 56-81-5, and in  the european food industry its designation is E 422. Glycerine is used here as an additive to improve consistency, flavor and preservation.

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Physical and Chemical Properties of Glycerine

Alternativ designations:

Glycerine Structural Formula

Molecular formula:

CAS number:

Molar mass:

  • 92,09 g·mol−1

Aggregat state:

  • Liquid


  • Colorless


  • Odorless

ph value:

  • Neutral


  • 1,26 g·cm−3 (20 °C)

Melting point:

  • 18°C

Boiling point / decomposition temperature:

  • 290°C

Flash point:

  • 199°C

Spontaneous ignition:

  • 400°C

Danger of explosion:

  • The product does not present an explosive hazard; however, explosive vapor-air mixtures can form.

Solubility in / miscibility with water:

  • Fully miscible

Glycerine from CREMER OLEO

CREMER OLEO is one of the world's largest independent distributors of vegetable and sustainable glycerine. With several locations in Europe, North and South America and Asia, we are closely networked globally - for the benefit of our partners, to whom we offer the best service.

At short notice, we are able to supply glycerine from all raw materials, such as rapeseed, soybean or palm, in many purity grades and with dedicated certifications. In our worldwide storage facilities and tanks, we keep market-standard refined glycerine with a purity of 86.5% or 99.5% in stock . And we also offer technical glycerine produced from tallow or recycled oils (UCO).

We are happy to help you with challenging tasks: For example, we can help you to source glycerine in smaller packaging sizes, such as 1 kg or 25 kg canisters, 250 kg drums or 1250 kg IBCs. We have years of experience in the glycerine trade, work with the most reliable partners and can therefore also meet your individual packaging requirements.

You need a logistics concept for complicated supply chains? Just take advantage of our vast know-how in product quality, certification or packaging units. The CREMER OLEO glycerine team will be happy to help you!

The CREMER OLEO Glycerine Team as guests at H&S Filling in Barneveld, where our Glycerine Logistics Hub for the European continent is located.

CREMER OLEO Glycerine Portfolio:

  • Crude Glycerine 80,0% (What ist Crude Glycerine?)
  • Glycerine 86,5% / CremerGLYC 86,5%
  • Glycerine 99,5% / CremerGLYC 99,5%
  • Glycerine 99,7% / CremerGLYC 99,7%
  • Glycerine 99,8% / CremerGLYC 99,8%
  • Glycerine 99,9% / CremerGLYC 99,9%
  • Glycerine 99,5% / CremerGLYC 99,5% based on 100% rapeseed
  • Glycerine 99,5% / CremerGLYC 99,5% RSPO MB
  • Glycerine 99,5% / CremerPHARM 
  • Organic Glycerine / CremerGLYC Bio
  • Organic Glycerine / CremerGLYC Bio RSPO/IP
  • Further qualities on request


  • Glycerine Ph. Eur.
  • Pharmaglycerine
  • Glycerine Segregated / SG
  • Glycerine palmfree
  • Rapeseed glycerine
  • RSPO Glycerin
  • Glycerine USP
  • GMO Glycerine
  • NON GMO Glycerine
  • Glycerine Mass Balance / MB


  • Ph.Eur, USP, E422, JP, BP, DAB


  • liquid


  • Loose / bulk in tank truck
  • ISO containers
  • IBC containers
  • Flexi-bags
  • Drums
  • Cans


  • Kosher
  • Kosher Passover
  • Halal
  • GMP+ / QS
  • ISO 9001
  • IFS Broker (GFSI)
  • Bio-Glycerine additionally COSMOS, NOP, EU-Bio

Please find and download the current certificates of CREMER OLEO on the Quality page, 

Are you looking for organic glycerine?  
Get to know our offer!

Production of Vegetable Glycerine

There are two different types of glycerine − vegetable and petrochemical glycerine. Nowadays, the petrochemical production process is only seldom used. Vegetable oils, so-called triglycerides form the basis for the production of glycerine.

Today, vegetable glycerine is produced on a large scale using three established processes. What they have in common is that the glycerine is a by-product of a reaction that is mainly used to manufacture another product. Glycerin is therefore a so-called co-product.

  • Saponification – co-product in soap production 
  • Hydrolytic cleavage – co-product in fatty acid production 
  • Transesterification – co-product in biodiesel production

Uses of Vegetable Glycerine


As it is harmless for health and environment, skin-friendly and odorless, glycerine is used both as a humectant and an emollient in cosmetics, personal care products and household products.

In creams, glycerine is a moisturizing component. It supports skin care and, at the same time, prevents the cream from drying out. As glycerine is also odorless, it is a good base for adding perfume and is used as a substance carrier in personal and hair care products.

The production of toothpaste, for example, is a large area of application. Here glycerine is used to improve the taste, prevent dehydration and lend a shine. Toothpaste can contain 20-30% glycerine.


There is also broad scope for the use of glycerine in foodstuffs and beverages: as a preservative, a consistency and flavor enhancer, as a solvent for flavors and food colors in soft drinks and confectionary. In sweets and cakes as well as casings for chocolates, meat and cheese it serves as a humectant and emollient.


Glycerine is one of the most often used ingredients for drugs. It acts as a solvent, moistener, humectant, and bodying agent in tinctures, elixirs, and ointments.

Other well-known uses include gargles, cough medicines, capsules, lozenges, suppositories, and anesthetics, as well as an additive in antibiotics and antiseptics.


Glycerine is also contained in many household products and detergents, for example as a humectant or softener. It is very kind to the skin and harmless to health and the environment.


Animal feed also benefits from the advantages glycerine offers: it is used in dry feed to store moisture and improve the taste

In veterinary medicine, glycerine is used as a source of glucose in bovine ketosis.

Technical Uses

In the technical field, glycerine is used to manufacture antifreeze agents, among other things. The solidification point of refined glycerine 99.5% is +18°C. Mixed in water at a concentration of 66.7%, its solidification point is 

This property is excellent for glycerine’s use as an antifreeze agent in formulations. As a chemical alcohol, glycerine is also needed in numerous reactions in the production of chemicals. Here the range of applications is very broad. 

Glycerine is also typically used in the production of alkyd resins. Further technical uses are in the manufacture of paper, textiles and lubricants.

Your contacts for Glycerine at CREMER OLEO

Stefan Panknin

Sales & Business Development Manager
Phone: +49 170 79 70 991

Steffen Mainzer

Business Manager Glycerine
Phone: +49 (0) 40 / 3 20 11 - 316