Myriant develops new product, partners with DaniMer Scientific

By Bryan Sims | March 30, 2012

Myriant Corp. a continues to broaden its robust portfolio of biobased product offerings to market as the Quincy, Mass.-based firm filed for patent protection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a proprietary process to produce biobased acrylic acid derived from renewable feedstocks. The company noted that it intends to immediately initiate scale-up activities of its bioacrylic acid in order to provide product samples to downstream customers by the second half of this year.

Having already successfully demonstrated commercial production of its first biobased product, D-lactic acid, since 2008 for use in the polylactic acid industry, and its second product, biosuccinic acid, anticipated to enter commercial production by early next year out of its 30 million pound production facility in Lake Providence, La., currently under construction, Myriant expects introduction of its bioacrylic acid will only bolster its product pipeline for future customers.

“Bioacrylic acid, like our first two products, is an important chemical building block monomer and demand exists for affordable, high-performing drop-in bioacrylic acid for existing large-market applications,” said Cenan Ozmeral, COO for Myriant. “Strategically and operationally, this is an important pipeline expansion product for the company and we look forward to meeting customer requests for kilogram-sized samples later this year.”

According to a statement by Myriant, acrylic acid and its derivatives are some of the most versatile and widely used chemical monomers, primarily because they impart important properties to a diverse array of consumer applications, including giving plastics their transparency and making diapers more absorbent. Acrylic acid is also commonly used in applications ranging from coatings and adhesives to sealants and detergents, with an estimated market in excess of $14 billion at current prices, according to Myriant. Today, acrylic acid is produced from petroleum-derived propylene, adding that global supply of propylene has become more constrained, leading to price volatility.

Biobased succinic acid is a commonly used precursor for the production of a range of high-volume, high-value chemical products such as 1,4-butanediol, tetrahydrofuran and it can be used as a substitute for adipic acid. Last year, Myriant declared its intent to participate in the bio-BDO market by collaborating with Davy Process Technology, a Johnson Matthey Co., to jointly develop a process that employs Myriant’s biobased succinic acid for the production of bio-BDO, tetrahydrofuran and gamma-butyrolactone.

In addition to D-lactic acid and biosuccinic acid, Myriant has additional products that are in various developmental stages within its product pipeline, including fumaric acid and malic acid, as well as alcohols such as 3-hydroxy propanol and isobutanol. Like biosuccinic acid, biobased fumaric acid can be used for the production of butanediol. Malic acid serves as an ingredient in cosmetics, beverages and medical products. In food applications, it provides an extreme tartness.

Myriant also got a big boost for getting its biosuccinic acid into biobased materials as the company recently formed a strategic alliance with Bainbridge, Ga.-based DaniMer Scientific. As part of the strategic alliance, DaniMer Scientific will utilize Myriant’s biosuccinic acid for the production of high-performance biobased polymers used to make a broad range of sustainable biomaterials.

“DaniMer believes that green chemistry can positively impact our environment and people’s lives, and that there is significant market potential for materials that are made from renewable sources,” said Blake Lindsey, president of DaniMer Scientific. “The use of renewable resources can enable cost-effective production of products that billions of people use every day. DaniMer is very excited about our relationship with Myriant and the value this combination can bring in innovative, value-added products to the global marketplace.”

Working collaboratively with Myriant, DaniMer has successfully demonstrated production of numerous biosuccinic-acid-containing materials at its Bainbridge produce development center. DaniMer is constructing a large-scale production facility that will incorporate Myriant’s biosuccinic acid into its production processes for a number of biobased polymers.