The chemical industry has tremendous effects on global economy and supports millions of job opportunities. However, it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and production of harmful by-products. The production of bio-based adipic acid (AA) has been shifted towards an eco-friendly process that reduces the process’ costs, the dependence on fossil-based sources, as well as NOx emissions.
Innovation: EARTO Member National Institute of Chemistry (NIC) developed an alternative sustainable process for the production of AA and its dimethyl ester (DMA) from bio-based aldaric acids. Bio-based AA and DMA come in the form of a white powder or colourless liquid which has the same properties as petro-based acids and esters. The innovative chemical process is based on the so-called “dehydroxylation” method via solid re-catalyst requiring operation of more than 95% at high conversion and selectivity towards AA or DMA.
Impact Expected: NIC’s innovation has already received the support of domestic and foreign industrial partners and participated in various European projects. This process, planned to be commercially available within 2-3 years, directly targets the AA market which is expected to have a growth of 4.6% by 2023. It can be synthesised in both existing and new market formulations, aiming at replacing fossil-fuel acid by at least 50%.