Our company’s interest in the PERFORM project is aligned with our sustainability strategy: facilitate reducing the carbon footprint. We do so by testing the produced material in different formulations from the pilot
Interview with Konstantin Mpampos, Associate Specialist Chemistry R&D, Innovation at Perstorp AB
What is PERSTORP’s role in PERFORM? Why is it interesting for the company to participate in this project?
The main role Perstorp has in the PERFORM project is to test the produced material in different formulations from the pilot, in particular the valeric acid (VA), as well as to benchmark it against the one produced by other technologies on an industrial scale. VA and its esters are mainly used in perfumes and cosmetics as food additives, due to the fruity flavour of the esters, but also as plasticizers and pharmaceuticals.
Perstorp is at present producing VA on an industrial scale and has a long experience of different oxo processes, including a substantial experience on downstream products based, not only on valeric acid but also on other comparable acids and products. The company uses VA in esters for synthetic lubricants, as raw material for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) production, and for making esters for aroma chemicals. In example, ProPhorce™ Valerins (glycerol esters of valeric acid) is a new breakthrough product introduced by Perstorp for feed purposes to boost animal performance.
Our company’s interest in the PERFORM project, as well as in other projects that aim to use sustainable feedstock, together with technologies that facilitate reducing the carbon footprint, is aligned with our sustainability strategy set for the coming years.
Perstorp’s ambition is to achieve finite material neutral production. We continuously develop new products and applications based on sustainable raw material and energy. Green chemicals produced via the electrochemical route create valuable assets along the development path and toward fulfilment of the ambition we have as a company. Being one of the world’s leading chemical companies focusing on sustainable coating, adhesives, feed and food, and plastic material market segments it is important for us to follow the development and contribute to that.Read More
“To reduce the environmental impact of the chemical industry, we need to start with the source. In order not to be so reliant on fossil resources, deriving our raw materials from a sustainable source is of outmost importance.”
Interview with Pablo Gil Navarro, Project Leader at Avantium
Q: What are the main challenges of the feedstock platform analysis? How is Avantium overcoming them?
A: It is no secret that to reduce the environmental impact of the chemical industry, we need to start with the source. In order not to be so reliant on fossil resources, deriving our raw materials from a sustainable source is of outmost importance.
Avantium Dawn Technology TM uses renewable sources like forestry and agricultural residues to generate second generation (2G) sugars and other products that can link directly to the electrochemical conversion platform. We have successfully scaled this technology up to a pilot stage.
Two main sugar streams (a high purity glucose stream and a mixed sugars one) are generated through this process. Together with the partners Avantium will study the feasibility to convert these sugars to in PERFORM’s Power Platform to valuable compounds, which in this case is adipic acid.
Our novel Dawn Technology TM provides a raw material that is similar to already existing sugar streams from first generation refineries. Nevertheless, there are nuances to this such as the presence of traces and rheological behavior that differ from off-the-shelf, less-sustainable feedstock. The end-product quality is one of the challenges that Avantium is focusing on and the feedback from our partners at PERFORM will help us to ensure that key parameters such as salt content and conductivity, pH, etc. are optimized for this kind of application.
Some of the work we are performing includes monitoring oligomerization levels, impurity tracking, de-acidification steps and optimization of the purification steps in general.
Within PERFORM, our objective is to prove that a more sustainable approach to production of chemicals is not only a good idea, but also a realistic one.Read More
From 2 to 3 September 2020, Novamont attended the phygital event Cibus Forum at the Parma exhibition centre. The Cibus platform represent a moment of exchange and sharing for the agri-food community.
During the event Perform brochure (around 50) were distributed at Novamont’s booth.Read More
“Numerous technology screening tests have been performed on different synthetic mixtures mimicking the actual process fluids, our next steps entail continued process characterization in the lab and material selection to allow for pilot construction and demonstration of both PERFORM reaction lines. “
Interview to Wim de Schepper, Researcher in Separation and Conversion Technology – Electrochemical technologies at VITORead More
On October 28, RadiciGroup, responsible for Product Applications, participated in an online seminar to present the PERFORM project.
The Italian Industry embraces Green Chemistry workshop was organised by Gruppo Interdivisionale di Green Chemistry della SCI, CNR-SCITEC and Consorzio Italbiotec and the presentations addressed the new European Green Deals related to chemistry.
On behalf of the PERFORM consortium, Stefano Alini, CEO and Innovations and Research Director at RadiciGroup presented the main goals of the project to date.Read More
“Sustainable Innovation is conducting the necessary assessments to ensure the most efficient market uptake of PERFORM”
Interview to Román Sánchez, Marketing Manager at Sustainable Innovations
Q: What are the main strategies behind the exploitation and the dissemination of the project?
A: Sustainable innovations will develop the exploitation & dissemination strategies in PERFORM focusing on the Key Exploitable Results (KERs) of the project
- the manufacture of a modular, mobile & versatile electrochemical PowerPlatform for the valorization of the biobased feedstocks;
- the key technologies that are being developed within the project;
- the high-quality, industrially significant chemical building blocks (valeric, maleic & adipic acid) that will be generated from biomass feedstocks demonstrating the PERFORM concept;
- the valorization of those building blocks into biobased & biodegradable polymers & plastics.
Sustainable Innovation is conducting the necessary assessments to ensure the most efficient market uptake, including the market analysis, recommended exploitation paths and IPR management for every KER. Besides, it is managing the dissemination of the results to the key stakeholders & the general audience through the most appropriate channels, with the final aim of maximizing the adoption of PERFORM innovations.
PERFORM will ultimately contribute to the sustainability & competitiveness of the chemical industry across Europe by substituting fossil-based feedstocks by its biobased alternatives and applying paired electrosynthesis to the chemical transformation processes, and that objective will be achieved thanks to the dissemination & exploitation activities that are being designed.Read More
“Continuous interactions and comparison with the project partners and with their different experiences, allows together to optimise the polymerization conditions”
Interview to Giuseppina Carotenuto, Research & Development Manager at Novamont
Q: How is Novamont going to carry out the product formulations?
A: In the context of the development of bioeconomy, the sustainable production of biobased materials is a critical success factor for the long-term perspective to implement bio-based products on a large scale.
PERFORM projects is expected to contribute to technology development to reduce the environmental impact of the chemical industry. The implementation of electrochemical production methods for bio-based building blocks for performance products will be a game changer, leading to more efficient and sustainable production of chemicals.
Novamont promotes an approach to bioeconomy based on the efficient use of renewable resources. Our mission is to develop materials and biochemicals through the integration of chemistry and agriculture, by starting up biorefineries in the local areas and providing application solutions that ensure efficient use of resources throughout their entire life cycle, with advantages for the social, economic and environmental system.
The use of renewable raw materials is one of the qualifying elements of Novamont’s biodegradable and compostable bioplastics and we are working to progressively increase the renewable content of our products.
Within the Perform project, we have the possibility of creating and testing new bio-based and biodegradable polyesters using dicarboxylic acids from electrochemical processes with an improved environmental profile due to the efficient utilization of renewable biobased feedstocks and renewable energy.
In particular Novamont will validate the quality and the usability of Perform’s dicarboxylic acids in the production of bio-based polymers. In this case is essential to have a high purity index of the monomers, aimed at obtaining materials with mechanical and physical properties in line with Novamont’s target. First of all, laboratory trials will be performed to test the PERFORM biochemicals for the synthesis of bio-based polyesters to screen purity profiles. Then the most suitable formulations will be selected for the validation at pilot scale to get a wider and more comprehensive knowledge on the production process.Read More
“In order to achieve a result never reached in the chemical industry, it is fundamental to well design the whole process”
Interview to Cristiano Maesani, Junior Researcher at RadiciGroup
Q: How does RadiciGroup foresees the process benchmarking and product applications of the PERFORM technology?
A: RadiciGroup is one of the most important player in the production of adipic acid, one of the target product of PERFORM project. Nowadays, adipic acid is synthetized only from fossil source raw material, which involves a nitric acid oxidation of the mixture cyclohexanol – cyclohexanone. The low final cost of this chemical intermediate and the very high purity required for its downstream applications (>99,8% by weight) make this synthetic route the only one possible at industrial scale.
Researchers from all over the world have been working for 50 years to study new processes able to remove nitric acid from the production pathway. The new and innovative adipic acid synthesis proposed in the PERFORM project not only removes the nitric acid as reactant, which would allow to have safer chemical plants and less subjected to corrosion problems, but also uses sugars from biomass as starting raw materials and renewable energy, embracing the philosophy of sustainability that characterizes RadiciGroup vision. This new approach aligned with the European Energy Policy and based on renewable feedstock should also allow to achieve a significant improvement of the product environmental footprint.
Unfortunately, adipic acid market quality requirements are very strict, especially in polyamides synthesis, which covers more than 60% of its uses. Even small amounts of mono carboxylic acids, metals ions or UV-vis adsorbent molecules could make the product unsuitable for its downstream applications. For this reason, in order to achieve a result never reached in the chemical industry, it is fundamental to well design the whole process, from the right selection and pre-treatment of the raw material, passing through the high conversion and selectivity inside the electrochemical pair reactor and finally to the correct choice of unit operations in the downstream process for the removal of the critical impurities.
RadiciGroup will guide its partners towards the benchmark adipic acid by chemical analysing the product obtained, highlighting the critical parameters that should be improved to obtain an adipic acid whose quality is as similar as possible to the one coming from fossil source. In parallel to this, polymerization tests will be done on laboratory and pilot plant to produce polyamide 66, the most critical application of adipic acid. The nylon thus obtained will be afterwards tested in plastic molding and yarn spinning pilot plant, establishing if the adipic acid obtained in the PERFORM project would have a real market or not.Read More