US' Rivertop Renewables to sell glucaric acid in 2013

29 June 2010 04:01  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON DC (ICIS news)--US producer Rivertop Renewables plans to commercially produce biomass-based glucaric acid by 2013, its newly appointed CEO Jim Stoppert said on Monday.

Glucaric acid is currently produced in very few quantities because of inefficient and costly processing, Stoppert said at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing in Washington DC.

Glucaric acid, formed by oxidising glucose, is recognized by the US Department of Energy as one of the top 12 building block chemicals that can be converted into a number of high-value, bio-based chemicals.

Stoppert said Rivertop Renewables can produce glucaric acid using a low-risk, cost-economic multi-platform oxidation chemistry process.

This process was estimated to cost about 33 US cents/lb but the capital expenditure to be easily recovered in a year, he said.

“We can build a plant at fairly inexpensive rate but our plan is to first start working with contract manufacturers to toll manufacture our products and build up the market. From there, we can build a commercial plant with [an] initial capacity of around 60m lbs, hopefully around 2013,” Stoppert added.

Rivertop Renewables is currently designing a pilot scale plant with a capacity of around 100,000 lbs/year to demonstrate its process development. Stoppert said the company hopes to start the pilot plant by early next year.

The company plans to introduce its first glucaric acid product as direct replacement for phosphates in detergent applications.

“Phosphate replacement in detergents is a potential $10bn (€810m) global market,” said Stoppert. “We can quickly get our glucaric acid product to the market as [the] approval cycle only takes six months.”

Rivertop Renewables was also working on developing the use of glucaric acid as corrosion inhibitors for road and water treatment, as building material additives, as cosmetic exfoliants, and, in the long-term, as building block for polymers.

The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotech and Bioprocessing ends on Wednesday.

($1 = €0.81)

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