Process Intensification for the Production of Furandicarboxylic Acid
The proposed program provides a new biomass conversion technology to produce FDCA, 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, to replace hydrocarbon chemicals for production of commodity plasticizers and polyester polymers. Using todays prices, FDCA can economically replace phthalic anhydride and terephthalic acid, commodity chemicals used for production of large volume phthalate plasticizers and polyester polymers. FDCA is derived from fructose, with 5-acetoxymethylfurfural (AcHMF) as a key intermediate. Commercial production of FDCA is currently hindered by poor selectivity for the catalytic dehydration of fructose using current catalysts and reaction pathways. The overall goal of the Phase II project is to commercialize an innovative technology, Intensified Catalytic and Reactive Distillation (iCARD), for highly selective production of FDCA from high fructose corn syrup. Improved selectivity will be achieved by: (1) utilization of reactive distillation to remove water generated by the reaction, thereby suppressing degradation reactions and increasing selectivity; (2) development of novel catalysts, for use in reactive distillation for fructose dehydration with high selectivity; (3) use of an alternative reaction pathway, through AcHMF, that further suppresses byproduct formation; and (4) catalytic oxidation of AcHMF to FDCA at exceptionally high yield. The Phase I program successfully demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of the iCARD technology for FDCA production at high selectivity. The project developed new catalysts, and a novel reaction system, which successfully demonstrated fructose dehydration to FDCA with greater than 90% selectivity. The iCARD technology for FDCA production provides exceptionally attractive economics, with an estimated payout time for a commercial plant investment of less than one year. In the Phase II program, research and development will be completed to support immediate commercialization of the iCARD technology for FDCA production. The iCARD catalysts, reaction system, and overall manufacturing process will be optimized to provide low cost, high quality FDCA product. Performance of FDCA-based non-phthalate plasticizers will be confirmed to meet commercial requirements. The program includes a subcontract to the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: FDCA produced by the iCARD technology will find immediate application for production of non-phthalate bio-plasticizers for PVC, and for the production of large volume polyester polymers for fibers, beverage bottles, and other products. This will allow conversion of over 10 billion pounds per year of commodity chemical production from hydrocarbon to biomass base, resulting in reduced consumption of scarce hydrocarbon resources and improving long term U.S. competitiveness in global markets.
Small Business Information at Submission:
665 Amherst Road Sunderland, MA 01375-9420
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