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Cargill, BAS and Novozymes to develop bio-based acrylic acid production process

20 August 2012

Novozymes, BASF and Cargill have signed an agreement to develop an industrial biotechnology-based production process for acrylic acid from renewable raw materials.

Acrylic acid is currently being produced by the oxidation of propylene derived from the refining of crude oil.

BASF board of executive directors' member Michael Heinz said that the cooperation combines BASF's global market strength and innovation power with the know-how and competencies of Novozymes and Cargill.

"Together we are uniquely positioned to more sustainably meet market and society needs," Heinz added.

Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard said: "By offering bio-based alternatives to fossil-based products we will take a big step towards a more sustainable economy."

"Acrylic acid has annual global market of around 4.5mt with a value of $11b and is used to manufacture superabsorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid."

Cargill Corporate research and development vice president Chris Mallett said Cargill is pleased to bring its global expertise in sourcing renewable feedstocks and large-scale fermentation to the collaborative project.

"The work with BASF and Novozymes under scores our commitment to developing innovative new technologies that help our customers meet their business objectives," Mallett added.

Since 2008, Novozymes and Cargill have collaborated on renewable acrylic acid technology and have developed microorganisms that convert renewable feedstock into 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP).

BASF has now joined the two companies to develop the process for conversion of 3-HP into acrylic acid, according to Novozymes.

Acrylic acid has annual global market of around 4.5mt with a value of $11b and is used to manufacture superabsorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid.