Bio-based Superabsorbent Polymers Cargill und Novozymes Looking for a New Commercialization Partner

Editor: Manja Wühr

Since the end of last year it was already certain that BASF exit the current R&D collaboration with Novozymes and Cargill to develop a bio-based process for producing 3-hydroxypropionic (3-HP) and acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. PROCESS has enquired the reason.

Related Companies

After BASF's exit Novozymes und Cargill are looking for a new commercialization partner.
After BASF's exit Novozymes und Cargill are looking for a new commercialization partner.
(Picture: Novozymes/Freya Morales)

Ludwigshafen/Germany, Minneapolis/USA, Kopenhagen/Dänemark – The R&D collaboration between BASF, Cargill and Novozymes has achieved some success in the field of producing 3-hydroxypropionic (3-HP) and acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. In 2013, the project accomplished the production of 3-HP in pilot scale, and in September 2014 announced the successful conversion of 3-HP to glacial acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers.

On enquiry BASF has confirmed that the company has already at the end of November 2014 decided to exit the R&D collaboration. This decision is based on several criteria.

Hard Business Outlook

Simone Kaiser, Global Communication Manager - Business Unit Hygiene, declared to PROCESS: „Although BASF was able to convert successfully 3-HP in bio-acrylic acid and has already selected an proprietary process, the business unit Hygiene has not achieved its aims for the commercialization of dextrose based product at this moment. BASF sees therefor no option for an investment in the scale-up.“ Meanwhile Cargill and Novozymes have initiated efforts to find a new commercialization partner.

Acrylic acid is a high-volume chemical that feeds into a broad range of products. One of the main applications is in the manufacture of superabsorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid and are used mainly in baby diapers and other hygiene products. Acrylic acid is also used in adhesive raw materials and coatings. Presently, acrylic acid is produced by the oxidation of propylene derived from the refining of crude oil.

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