Published: November 2006
The rapid increases in the prices for petroleum and petroleum-based products as well as concern over sustainable feedstock sources prompted the Department of Energy (DOE) to perform an exhaustive survey of potential bio-based feedstock sources. In 2004 the Department of Energy (DOE) identified 12 platform chemicals that are biologically based and can be used to replace petroleum-based feedstocks. One of the compounds identified is 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP). This biologically based C 3 feedstock can serve as a feedstock for the production of chemicals presently derived from petroleum-derived propane and propylene. In 2005 the DOE awarded Cargill $6.2 million dollars to commercialize the production of 3-HP.
In this report we will evaluate the technoeconomics for the manufacture of 3-HP by anaerobic fermentation of glucose. We also analyze the technology and economics for the chemical conversion of 3-HP to one of its derivatives, acrylic acid by dehydration. Acrylic acid and its esters are important chemical building blocks. Major markets for its esters include surface coatings, textiles, adhesives and plastics. Polyacrylic acid and its copolymers have applications in superabsorbents, detergents, dispersants, flocculants and thickeners. The worldwide production capacity of acrylic acid exceeded 4 million metric tons in 2005.
This report should be of interest to manufacturers and consumers of acrylic acid, acrylic acid esters and polyacrylic acid.