Office for Technology Commercialization

Renewable Chemicals from Furans

Technology #20160256

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Image Gallery
FuranLactone Acid
Thomas Hoye, PhD
Merck Professor, Chemistry Department, College of Pharmacy
External Link (
Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending
Diels–Alder Reactions of Furans with Itaconic Anhydride: Overcoming Unfavorable Thermodynamics
ACS Organic Letters, May 23, 2016, 18 (11), pp 2584–2587
Files and Attachments
Versatile Reaction Technology for Corn-based Renewable Chemicals - Itaconic Acid & Furans [PDF]

Simple Pathway to Bio-based Chemicals

A new reaction path has been discovered to make metastable lactone acid in high yield (94%) by simple mixing of a 1:1 blend of corn-based chemicals - itaconic anhydride and furfuryl alcohol – at room temperature.  In addition, multiple reaction pathways have also been demonstrated for conversion of itaconic anhydride and furans into derivatives amenable to novel polymer or chemical compound synthesis. See Image Gallery for sample of possible synthesis pathways.

MN-IP Try and Buy
  • $5000 for a six month trial
  • Trial fee is waived for MN companies or if sponsoring $50,000+ research with the University
  • No US patent costs during trial
  • $25,000 conversion fee (TRY to BUY)
  • Royalty rate of 3% (2% for MN company)
  • Royalty free for first $1M in sales

** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. **

Itaconic Acid and Furfuryl Alcohol

Novel chemical compounds can be synthesized from itaconic anhydride (dehydrated itaconic acid) and furfuryl alcohol or other furans. These compounds are potential monomers or reactants useful for making new renewable polymers or specialty chemicals such as surfactants or plasticizers.


  • Starting materials are commercially available.
  • Production equipment is relatively simple and low cost. Reactions in the bulk have been demonstrated.
  • Multiple compounds can be produced in high yield.


  • Renewable polymers
  • Renewable specialty chemicals

Phase of Development – Laboratory scale proof of concept. Chemicals compounds characterized.