BASF, Cargill and Novozymes recently signed an agreement to develop bio-based technologies to produce acrylic acid from renewable feedstocks.
Novozymes and Cargill have collaborated on renewable acrylic acid technology since 2008. Both companies have worked to develop microorganisms that can efficiently convert renewable feedstocks into 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which is one possible chemical precursor to acrylic acid.
BASF, the world's largest producer of acrylic acid, has now joined the collaboration to develop the process for conversion of 3-HP into acrylic acid. The company plans to use the bio-based acrylic acid to manufacture superabsorbent polymers.
"By offering bio-based alternatives to fossil-based products, we will take a big step towards a more sustainable economy," commented Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard.
The annual global market volume of acrylic acid is around 4.5 million tons, with a value of $11 billion at the end of 2011. The market has been growing at a rate of 4% per year.