CSP Investigator Paul Dauenhauer has launched a start-up company Låkril Technologies to convert corn-derived lactic acid to bio-based acrylics – providing at least 35% CO2 reduction from today’s petroleum-derived acrylics. Låkril Technologies aims to commercialize sustainable acrylics at prices that compete with petroleum using traditional chemical refining approaches.
“Bio-based acrylics have long been sought by producers and end users, but routes leading to cost parity at scale with today’s petrochemicals have not been found before this discovery,” said Låkril Technologies President Chris Nicholas. “Our thermochemical technology provides outstanding yields of bio-based based acrylics from lactic acid allowing us to achieve competitive economics with petroleum-based products.”
CSP Director Marc Hillmyer says – “The bi-functional catalyst discovered in the Dauenhauer laboratory for the lactate-to-acrylate transformation is an outstanding example of applying fundamental mechanistic understanding to an important societal problem. Efficient transformations of renewable resources to commonly used polymers will continue to play a critical role for a sustainable future in this space.”
This bio-acrylics breakthrough was based on research from NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) a National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation and invented at the University of Minnesota. Låkril Technologies was chosen as a winner of the National Corn Growers Association’s Consider Corn Challenge III.
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Image credit: John Beumer / Låkril Technologies