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Biomass-Derived Isoprene in High Yield

Technology #20170037

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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 2-methyl-1,4-butanediol to Isoprene

A new process uses a novel catalyst to synthesize isoprene in high yields. Isoprene is made by contacting 2-methyl-1,4-butanediol (MBDO), 3-methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), or combinations thereof with a heterogeneous acid catalyst (other than alumina, or Al2O3). This catalytic process dehydrates MBDO to isoprene via several combinations of temperatures, pressures, and space velocities (reactant volumetric flow rate per volume of catalyst) and achieves conversion rates of MBDO 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. For example, other work by the inventors (20160343: Efficient Process to Make Biodegradable Polyesters and Green Solvents from Itaconic Acid) has demonstrated that the MBDO can be catalytically produced using itaconic acid as a starting material. Using a less expensive precursor, it is not only economically viable, but economically competitive with current petroleum processes.

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