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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Platform chemicals

  • The platform chemicals concept is to establish routes from biomass to new and existing petrochemical products.
  • These are the basic building blocks for the basic petrochemical industry, which produces a wide variety of commodity chemicals. These commodity or bulk chemicals, in turn, are used for an even wider array of fine chemicals and polymers.
  • There are two main ways to produce equivalent platform chemicals to those from fossil derived sources: Arriving to the same chemical structure or finding a chemical that can perform the same duties.
  • Advances in biotechnology are enabling the optimization of feedstock composition and agronomic characteristics and the development of new and improved fermentation organisms for conversion of biomass to new end products or intermediates.
  • The hydrogen and carbon containing platform chemicals are either used as solvents (e.g. benzene, toluene), as starting material for polymers (e.g. ethylene, propylene, butadiene) or are further functionalised with elements such as oxygen, nitrogen or chlorine.
  • The production of chemicals from biomass presents higher mass and carbon theoretical efficiency, and it seems an interesting alternative to provide a renewable path for globally and widely demanded platform chemicals like phenols, solvents (Acetone), soft plastic precursor (Polyethylene) and hard plastic precursor (Polypropylene).

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