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Biomass-Derived Isoprene in High Yield

Technology #20170037

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IsopreneIsopreneBiomass IsopreneTires
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Researchers
Paul Dauenhauer
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)
Kechun Zhang
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)
Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Publications
Renewable Isoprene by Sequential Hydrogenation of Itaconic Acid and Dehydra-Decyclization of 3-Methyl-Tetrahydrofuran
ACS Catalysis, January 19, 2017, 7 (2), pp 1428–1431
Files and Attachments
Non-confidential Summary [PDF]

Converting 3-methyltetrahydrofuran to Isoprene

A new process uses a novel catalyst to synthesize isoprene in high yields. Isoprene is made by contacting 3-methyltetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF) with a heterogeneous acid catalyst (other than alumina, or Al2O3). This catalytic process dehydrates MTHF to isoprene via several combinations of temperatures, pressures, and space velocities (reactant volumetric flow rate per volume of catalyst) and achieves selectivity of 3-MTHF to isoprene of up to 100%.

Higher Yields, Lower Costs

Isoprene, while traditionally produced from petroleum, can be produced from biomass. However, these production processes suffer from low overall yields or low conversion rates, preventing them from being economically feasible. This new method produces isoprene from a biomass-derived precursor at a high yield. Using a less expensive precursor, it is not only economically viable, but economically competitive with current petroleum processes.

TECHNOECONOMIC REPORT TO DE-RISK INVESTMENT:

The growing global market for isoprene is $2.2 billion and its primary use is to make rubber for tires. This catalyst chemistry technology cost effectively transforms bio-based 3-MTHF into isoprene. To help manage risk for investors interested in this technology, a detailed technoeconomic study developed by Cargill Optimizing Services process experts in cooperation with the University of Minnesota is available. Please complete this short application if you are interested in the report.

BENEFITS AND FEATURES:

  • Biomass-derived precursor
  • One-step dehydration of MBDO to isoprene
  • High yields (up to 100%)
  • Catalyst technology

APPLICATIONS:

  • Isoprene manufacture from biomass
  • Tires
  • Elastomers
  • Adhesives and sealants

Phase of Development - Prototype