BBNet funds awarded

BIV 03: Can green seaweed provide a new bio-based route for the production of acrylic acid in the context of biorefineries?

Project lead
Thierry Tonon
Institute
University of York

Acrylic acid is a platform chemical used to produce esters which are polymerized for applications in paper treatment, plastic additives, textiles, sealants, adhesives and surface coatings. It is also an important starting material for superabsorbent polymers, which are widely used in diapers and other hygiene products. The market value of acrylate is expected to reach $19b by 2020. Current production relies on a petrochemical process, however, due to unstable oil prices and environmental concerns, industry players have invested in R&D for bio-based acrylate production. Among the routes tested so far, fermentation processes of sugars to produce lactic acid or 3-hydroxypropionic acid, which are then dehydrated to acrylic acid, have been developed recently.‚Äč

However, none of them has yet reached the commercial stage. Therefore, there is scope to identify new routes for bio-production of acrylic acid, including extracting this compound from green seaweeds.

Academic Partner: Thierry Tonon, University of York

Industrial Partner: Paul Mines, Biome Technologies Plc

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