Renewable cosmetic predecessor could grow cellulosic biofuel industry

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A group of chemical and biological engineers during a University of Wisconsin–Madison has found a proceed to furnish from biomass a profitable devalue used in cosmetic prolongation that they guess could reduce a cost of ethanol constructed from plant element by some-more than dual dollars per gallon.

The growth is a latest in an ongoing bid during UW–Madison to emanate commodity chemicals now subsequent from petroleum out of biomass. These bio-derived chemicals could offer as high value co-products of a biofuels prolongation process, improving a economics of a cellulosic bio-refinery.

“This breakthrough shows how biomass-derived commodity chemicals can economically be used to reinstate petroleum-derived products,” says George Huber, a UW–Madison highbrow of chemical and biological engineering and associate of a Wisconsin Energy Institute. “It also shows how we competence urge a farming economies in that biomass grows.”

In their paper published recently by a biography ChemSusChem, Huber and collaborators news a new chemical pathway used to furnish 1,5-pentanediol, a cosmetic predecessor essentially used to make polyurethanes and polyester plastics. The group’s rarely fit proceed is 6 times cheaper than a formerly reported method, and represents a initial economically viable proceed of producing 1,5-pentanediol from biomass.

Plant biomass is typically about 40 percent oxygen by weight, while petroleum oil is reduction than 0.1 percent oxygen.

“In a approach, we use a oxygen already elemental in a biomass to furnish high value oxygenated commodity chemicals that can be used to make opening polymer materials like polyurethanes and polyesters,” says Huber.

The study’s foundational discovery, a new pathway for chemical production, also provides elemental chemistry that could be germane to a far-reaching cross-section of products. For instance, a same pathway could be used to furnish dual other cosmetic precursors — 1,4 butanediol and 1,6-hexanediol — now subsequent from petroleum and that together paint an annual marketplace of some-more than $6 billion.

In a days ahead, a group will continue to labour their work, collecting a information indispensable to scale their routine adult to commander plant testing. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is in assign of chartering a technology.

“We’ve had companies seeking some-more about this sparkling proceed to economically furnish a profitable chemical from tolerable sources,” says Leigh Cagan, WARF’s arch record commercialization officer. “Professor Huber’s published work will move us closer to enchanting with industrial partners to commercialize this technology.”

Huber was assimilated in a collaborative investigate by UW–Madison engineering professors James Dumesic and Christos Maravelias, experts in a catalysis and techno-economic modeling, respectively, connoisseur students Zachary Bentzel (the paper’s initial author) and Kevin Barnett, and postdoctoral researcher Kefeng Huang.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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