28 February 2011 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Ohio, US-based startup firm Bioformix has developed a high-speed, no-heat cure technology that can dramatically save energy and costs in adhesive and coatings application.
The company's technology is based on a di-substituted vinyl monomer platform that has been known for decades. But every previous attempt to commercialize it failed, said Bioformix CEO Adam Malofsky in an interview on the sidelines of the Infocast Biobased Chemicals Summit held in San Diego, California, in mid-February. "Through the research of the principals of the company, enabling discoveries have been made that allow for the chemistry's full utilization, especially in adhesives and coatings," he added. Bioformix's formulated polymers provide epoxy-like bonds with high-speed curing at an ambient temperature. By eliminating heat for adhesive and binder cure, the technology allows dramatic energy savings and the selection of lower-cost, non-heat-resistant materials in products, said Malofsky.
The company's raw material, acetic acid, can be sourced from either petroleum feedstock or direct fermentation from sugar, although Malofsky said that Bioformix is using petroleum-based acetic acid for now. "We will start looking into using renewable-based feedstock next year and we can easily switch feedstock as needed," he added. Bioformix could supply 1,000kg/day of the monomers if required, although the company is more focused on selling formulated products at an initial price range of $25-1,000/lb, depending on the application. "When it comes to selling monomers, we know long term, the price can go well below 50 cents/lb and can compete against acrylics, epoxies, urethanes and reactive polymers," said Malofsky.
Bioformix's strategy centers initially upon low-volume, high-margin adhesive and coatings applications, although its monomers can also be used in binders, composites, water soluble polymers, superabsorbent polymers, particle boards, fibers and traditional plastics.
"Our technology is finding an application and not substituting a chemical," he said. "We will start selling in adhesives and coatings this fall until early 2012.
"Within the first three years, we expect to complete higher production scale strategic partnerships for both monomer and polymer manufacture as wellas application development," he added.
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