P&G Partners Cargill on Bio-Acrylic acid
The proprietary technology converts lactic acid to bio-acrylic acid, which can be used in a variety of applications such as superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) in hygiene products and thickeners in household paints.
“Manufacturers and brand owners have been seeking viable pathways to bio-based acrylic acid to reduce the environmental impact and P&G’s conversion technology brings us closer to a solution,” said Asheesh Choudhary, global business development director for Cargill’s bioindustrial business.
Cargill has been working for many years to develop a fermentation route to acrylic acid. It first partnered with Danish fermentation expert Novozymes in 2008 to produce 3-hydroxypropionic (3-HP) and acrylic acid from renewable sources.
BASF entered the R&D project in 2012 and in September 2014 the three partners announced a milestone achievement in successfully converting 3-HP to bioacrylic acid and SAPs. However, just a few months later in January 2015, BASF walked away from the collaboration.
P&G’s process is not based on fermentation, but rather on the liquid phase dehydration of lactic acid, which Cargill produces from corn at its plant in Blair, Nebraska, USA, and uses to make polylactic acid.
“By using annually renewable crops, we’ll be able to contribute to farmer prosperity while delivering more renewable solutions that are estimated to have less than half the greenhouse gas footprint versus the petroleum-based equivalent,” said Jill Zullo, Cargill’s strategic marketing and innovation leader for the bioindustrial business.