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Paired Electrochemical Oxidation process for feasible industrial production of the crucial FDCA building block for the bioplastic industry

Objective

AVA Biochem is a specialty chemicals company and produces the premium platform chemical 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) from renewable biomass. We are the owner of the world’s 1st industrial plant for production of 5-HMF from biomass. Recently the company has added 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) to its product portfolio. FDCA is considered as a top 12 Top Value-Added Chemicals, which can be used in a wide variety of applications, most significantly in the production of Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF), a polyester ideal for packaging. Most plastic bottles are made from PET (oil-based polyethylene terephthalate) but PEF is a superior polymer. It offers a better barrier for CO2 and O2, is stronger but thinner and has a longer shelf life. PEF is a bio-based substitute for oil-based PET. However, in the market, there is not an industrial commercial process to produce FDCA because of the price. After a long R&D way, we offers an HMF from biomass, which a price more than 2000% lower than currently. Diverse approaches for the oxidation of HMF to FDCA have been developed usually with uncompleted conversion. However, we have developed a continuous, integrated pilot plant for the oxidation of HMF in water with paired electrochemical oxidation to obtain FDCA and its purification. This technology has advantages since the oxidant is substituted by electrons, and the oxidation occurs at both anode and cathode, thus the produced waste and energy are minimized. Applying this concept we obtain FDCA with yields >99% in the lab and a purity of 99.95 wt%. The selectivity is >90% without any dangerous by-products. The process also takes place in water so neither hazardous organic solvents are necessary. It is considered as a green process because an energy savings of 66% and GHG emissions reductions by 35% are realized. Thus, the bio-based FDCA end-product will be offered to the market at much lower price than currently, having a crucial role to play in the PEF bioplastic packaging.

Call for proposal

H2020-SMEINST-1-2016-2017
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

AVA BIOCHEM BSL AG
Address
Rothausstrasse 61
4132 Muttenz
Switzerland
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 50 000