STTR Phase I: Bioprocess-derived Glucaric Acid as a Renewable Feedstock for Diverse Polymers

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1521172
Agency Tracking Number: 1521172
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-06-30
Small Business Information
92 Elm St., Milton, MA, 02186
DUNS: 967680427
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Neal Connors
 (908) 288-7037
 neal_connors@yahoo.com
Business Contact
 Neal Connors
Phone: (908) 288-7037
Email: neal_connors@yahoo.com
Research Institution
 Arizona State University
 David R Nielsen
 ORSPA
660 South Mill Avenue, Suite 310
TEMPE, AZ, 85281
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Research Phase I project is the development of polymer applications for glucaric acid such as polyesters and polyamides. For example, the polyester segment has a potential for 9 billion pounds with a market value of $5 - $13 billion. Success on this project will catalyze the use of bioprocess-derived glucaric acid for this and other applications for which this versatile six carbon di-acid has utility. While some smaller shorter carbon chain length molecules (three to five carbons, C3-C5) based renewable materials are available, bioprocess-derived glucaric acid could represent the first major, biologically-produced C6 used for polymer synthesis if it can be successfully brought to market. Based on precedents for large-scale fermentation processes, successful translation of the glucaric acid bioprocess and polymer synthesis technology into the commercial space would also result in job creation, as bio-based plants have typically been initiated in the US. Critically this work will also further validate the commercial viability of producing commodity-scale, high value-added chemicals produced by microbes developed with synthetic biology techniques. With the United States at the forefront of synthetic biology, proven commercially successful products will lead to greater private investment in this growth sector. The objectives of this Phase I research project are: 1) demonstrate the synthesis of novel, high molecular weight polymers (>10 kDa) from glucaric acid and suitable co-monomers with useful thermal and mechanical properties, and 2) develop and evaluate genetically altered E. coli strains for improved glucaric acid production. As a novel di-acid monomer, glucaric acid provides the opportunity to explore uncharted territory in the polymer space. These new materials can serve as functional replacements allowing suppliers to leverage an alternative to petroleum feedstock-based polymers. Reaction schemes that carefully control monomer stoichiometry and drive high conversion will be employed to achieve polyesters and polyamides with molecular weights greater than 10 kDa.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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