Sweet green promise of sugar

Sugar-based chemical feedstock seems to be prominently featured in 2009 as several developments continue to center on the promise of sugar as alternative to petroleum.

So what are some of the bioproducts currently using sugar? The International Sugar Organization just published their first-ever report about using sugar for chemicals and other bio-products, which led me to post this article (thanks also to Genomatica for alerting me about the report!).

The study investigates the market potential for sugarcane and beet bio products arising from industrial biotechnology advances.

A major product is bioplastic such as bio-polyethylene made from sugarcane-based ethylene. Brazilian chemical company Braskem is a prominent developer in this area. Braskem also recently announced its development partnership with enzyme company Novozymes for bio-propylene using sugar-cane as feedstock.

Novozymes, meanwhile, just announced its partnership with Cetrel for the development of biogas and electricity from sugarcane bagasse.

Also in Brazil, sugarcane and ethanol producer Pedra Agroindustrial plans to start commercial bioplastics production by late 2012 using sugarcane-based poly-3hydroxybutyrate (PHB). Meanwhile, French chemical company Solvay is also developing bio-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) using sugarcane-based ethylene.

Coca-Cola, by the way, is already using sugarcane-based plastic as part of its newly-launched PlantBottle packaging. Packaging company Tetra Pak also recently announced its partnership with Braskem for the use of Braskem’s sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene.

Searching the Green Blog (keyword: sugar) produces interesting development on new sugar-based chemical building blocks such as Genomatica’s 1,4 butanediol (BDO) and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK); Cargill and Novozymes’ 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HPA) to produce acrylic acid; Virent Energy Systems looking to produce conventional liquid fuels from biomass-derived sugards; Procter & Gamble’s Sefose alkyd resin technology made from combined sugar and vegetable oil; Itaconix’ itaconic acid; Rivertop Renewables’ glucaric acid; DuPont’s corn sugar-based propanediol (PDO); Avantium’s furanics from C6 sugars; and biosuccinic from BioAmber.

Another major developer of sugar-based chemicals and fuel is Amyris. The company will soon produce its first sugacane-based diesel using its newly purchased ethanol-producing mill owned and operated by the São Martinho Group in Brazil.

Amyris also recently announced other partnerships with three sugar and ethanol manufacturers in Brazil for the development and commercialization of sugar-based chemicals and fuel.

Most of these projects are announced just this year, and we will probably see much, much more in 2010!

Also check more about the sugar-based industrial products developments in Brazil posted by Joe Chang in the blog.

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2 Responses to Sweet green promise of sugar

  1. sitaram 5 January, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

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  2. Doris de Guzman 16 April, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

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