BBNet funds awarded

POC 12: Bio-based catalyst for bioproduct oxidation

Project lead
Jonathan Wagner
Loughborough University

This project seeks to develop a cheap, nontoxic and fully renewable biorefinery catalyst to facilitate the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) into 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a critical intermediate for bioplastics (e.g., Bio-PET) synthesis. Despite high demand, displacement of PET with FDCA-based PEF is currently limited by the high cost of this intermediate due to a lack of efficient 5-HMF oxidation routes.

The catalyst employed by the project is a known fermentation by-product but has never been employed for catalysis. UnlikeĀ  conventional catalysts used for 5-HMF oxidation, it is stable in water, eliminating the use of organic solvents. It also avoids the use of expensive and environmentally harmful metals during catalyst synthesis.

As well as demonstrating technical feasibility of this process, the project will conduct preliminary techno-economic modelling and explore potential commercial partnerships and collaboration opportunities to apply for scale-up funding.

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