The Dow Chemical Co. and OPX Biotechnologies, Inc. (OPXBIO) are collaborating to develop an industrial scale process for the production of bio-based acrylic acid from renewable feedstocks. The two have signed a joint development agreement to prove the technical and economic viability of an industrial-scale process to produce acrylic acid using a fermentable sugar (such as corn and/or cane sugar) feedstock with equal performance qualities as petroleum-based acrylic acid, creating a direct replacement option for the market. If collaborative research is successful, the companies will discuss commercialization opportunities that could bring bio-based acrylic acid to market in three to five years. During an 18-month pilot-scale program, OPXBIO demonstrated with unprecedented speed and capital efficiency that its EDGE™ technology enables the manufacture of acrylic acid using renewable feedstock. A life cycle analysis conducted by Symbiotic Engineering, a greenhouse gas and sustainability consultant, concluded that OPXBIO's production process can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70% when compared to traditional petroleum-based acrylic acid production.
Dow, a leading global producer of acrylic acid and esters, will provide its expertise in industrial chemistry, process optimization and product development. OPXBIO, a company that uses biotechnology to convert renewable raw materials into biochemicals and fuels, will contribute its expertise in strain development and bioprocessing utilizing its EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology. The EDGE technology platform enables OPXBIO to engineer high-performing microbes and bioprocesses more effectively and efficiently compared to conventional genetic engineering methods.
The global petroleum-based acrylic acid market is US$8 bln and growing 3-4% pa. Acrylic acid is a key chemical building block used in a wide range of consumer goods including paints, adhesives, diapers and detergents.