Arkema, a leading acrylics player, and hte Aktiengesellschaft, the high throughput experimentation company, have announced the successful conclusion of a research collaboration on catalysis for glycerol to acrolein and acrylic acid conversion. The objective of the project initiated by Arkema consisted of providing performance screening for a variety of new suitable catalysts for conversion reactions of glycerol, a biodiesel byproduct derived from biomass, to acrolein and acrylic acid. Arkema, which has already registered a number of patents in this field, opted for the services of hte's laboratories in Heidelberg (Germany) which use a proprietary parallel testing technology to accelerate this process of exploration and evaluation, thus moving interesting catalysts more quickly from experimentation to potential commercialisation.
"By using this high throughput approach we have been able to produce results in a matter of months. This would normally have taken over two years using conventional testing equipment," says Jean-Luc Dubois, Scientific Director at Arkema. The production of acrolein and acrylic acid from biomass processing falls in line with Arkema's strategy to develop sustainable chemicals based in particular on more efficient processes and on the use of renewable raw materials. With world-scale industrial facilities in Carling (France) and Bayport (United States), Arkema is a major player in the acrylics market and its main applications, namely paints and coatings, superabsorbents, water treatment, and the paper and textile industries.