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NIC – Heterogeneous process for bio-based AA production

EARTO Innovation Awards 2020 – Impact Expected Category


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%.

More information about this innovation

The National Institute of Chemistry (NIC) offers high-level research equipment, allowing researchers to engage in the most cutting edge research challenges. It has 9 departments and 2 infrastructure centers.