Asia R&D and Innovations

Japan and The Netherlands Revolutionise The Production of FDCA

A new method to synthesize FDCA from a glucose derivative of non-food plant cellulose has been discovered, paving the way for a bioplastics revolution.

Scientists previously succeeded in producing FDCA from a biomaterial called 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) but couldn’t adopt this process for industrial application because of the high amount of by-products and the small yield of FDCA that remains.

The Japan-Netherland research team led by Associate Professor Kiyotaka Nakajima at Hokkaido University and Professor Emiel J.M. Hensen at Eindhove University of Technology succeeded in suppressing the side reactions and producing FDCA with high yields from concentrated HMF solutions (10~20 wt%) without by-products formation.

Kiyotaka Nakajima says

“It is significant that our method can reduce the total energy consumption required for complex work-up processes to isolate the reaction product. These results represent a significant advance over the current state of the art, overcoming an inherent limitation of the oxidation of HMF to an important monomer for biopolymer production. Controlling the reactivity of formyl group could open the door for the production of commodity chemicals from sugar-based biomaterials.”

This study was conducted jointly with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation.

REFS