Chemicals

Efficient conversion of xylose to chemicals from VTT

VTT has developed a yeast biocatalyst for the efficient conversion of xylose to xylonic acid. The process has high yield and productivity even in low-pH conditions. Various hemicellulose hydrolysates have been tested, and the biocatalyst has been engineered for improved performance.

Conversion of xylene

The efficient use of all parts of plant biomass, preferably for higher-value products, is a necessity. The hemicellulose part of plant biomass, rich in the pentose sugar xylose, is still largely unused. As pre-treatment and fractionation technologies develop, xylose streams become available, and technologies to add value to xylose are needed.

Converting xylose into a platform chemical is a potential way to enter high-volume markets. The market for xylonic acid is currently small, but it can be used as a chelator and as an intermediate in the production of, for example, 1,2,4-butanetriol, 1,4-butanediol, butadiene, ethylene glycol, glycolic acid and lactic acid.

The benefit of VTT’s approach is that xylose does not need to be purified before use. The biocatalyst and process can be tailored for xylose streams originating from different biomass sources and pre-treatment processes.

Looking for business partners

VTT is currently looking for partners for realizing the business potential of xylonic acid production and exploiting the priority yeast biocatalyst.

The intention is to demonstrate the production and downstream purification of xylonic acid at a larger scale with an industrially relevant hemicellulose stream and actively seek further chemical conversions, as well as direct applications using xylonic acid/xylonate.

Further information: Mervi Toivari, mervi.toivari@vtt.fi, +358207227309

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