A Clean and Green Route for the production of methacrylic acid and methacrolein from biofuel

M.M. Lin, J. Grinberg, W. Eng
EverNu Technology, LLC, US

Keywords: clean, green, catalytic process, biofuel, bioisobutanol, methacrylic acid, methacrolein

Summary:

The modern consumption of fossil fuels for chemical production contributes to global warming and other nature disasters in recent years. Approximately 10% of U.S. crude oil imports are used to feed its chemical industry. There is urgency for the world to explore renewable resources for chemical production, to sustain human activities and save the earth. With annual market of $2.1/$8.1 billion in the US/worldwide respectively, methacrylic-acid (MAA) and its ester derivative methyl-methacrylate (MMA) are important monomers for production of many valuable polymers. MMA and MAA are predominately produced from acetone and hydrogen-cyanide via an 85-year-old ACH process, which uses sulfuric-acid and generates large-sum of toxic-wastes. Under a recent funding by the US DOE SBIR-Program, EverNu started building a clean and green process for catalytic conversion of bioisobutanol to MAA and methacrolein. Consuming only air and generating no toxic wastes, this bioisobutanol process offers potential public benefits of eliminating use of cyanide and sulfuric-acid, avoiding generation/disposal of large sum of toxic wastes, reducing process energy consumption, and having no net CO2 emission. EverNu has identified proprietary catalytic systems effective for the process and demonstrated that the clean and green process is technically feasible with experimental data.