BOLOGNA -- Bio-on and Sadam Group have begun working on a project to develop innovative industrial processes, at competitive cost and with low environmental impact, to produce levulinic acid, a key element of the sustainable chemical industry of the future.
Levulinic Acid – Bio-intermediate
The United States government considers levulinic acid to be one of the largest families of industrial derivatives of the future and it is deemed to be one of the 12 most promising bio-intermediates by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
According to the most recent forecasts and based on various independent research, Bio-on estimates that market demand for levulinic acid will grow 150-200-fold over the next 7-8 years.
Natural Complex for Cosmetics
It is a natural compound made from biomass and the project envisages using sugar beet co-products as the raw material. It is a platform chemical product that can be used to produce other chemical substances or to replace the synthetic alternatives.
The main end users of levulinic acid are the agricultural, pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors, but this natural molecule also helps create new ecological fuels, fertilisers and anti-parasitic products. It is also used in the biodegradable plastics sector, expanding its field of application, and it is an intermediate element for making high-performance plastics, drugs and many other new-concept "green" products.
Global Production Project
To anticipate the growing demand and exploit a competitive advantage, Bio-on and Sadam Group have launched a shared project to develop innovative industrial processes to produce levulinic acid using sugar industry by-products as raw material. Particular attention will be paid to economic and ecological aspects: current global production of levulinic acid comes from highly polluting plants, with an unacceptable environmental impact for European standards and with vast production costs, resulting in high market prices.
Chairman of Bio-on S.p.A, Marco Astorri explained:
"Levulinic acid is considered one of the 12 'building blocks' of the green chemical industry of the future. Working on a new method of producing levulinic acid on an industrial scale over the coming months, as we announced in 2015, fills us with pride and enables us to consolidate our global leadership in the development of modern biochemistry. The project is also approved by MISE, which will support an investment, through financial subsidies within a budget of 6 million Euro, that will determine the budgets needed for the future industrial realization."
Chairman of Sadam, Massimo Maccaferri said:
"We are pleased with this initial development stage conducted by Bio-on, Sadam Group, because this molecule is an extraordinary tool that can kick-start the re-launch of the Italian chemical industry, safeguarding employment and guaranteeing an investment in our future."
Bio-on S.p.A., an Italian Intellectual Property Company (IPC), operates in the bioplastic sector conducting applied research and development of modern bio-fermentation technologies in the field of eco-sustainable and completely naturally biodegradable materials. In particular, Bio-On develops industrial applications through the creation of product characterizations, components and plastic items. Since February 2015, Bio-On S.p.A. has also been operating in the development of natural and sustainable chemicals for the future.