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Biochemicals & Materials

Mercurius Biorefining and UC Davis to develop low-cost FDCA technology

In the United States (US), biotechnology process applications developer Mercurius Biorefining Inc. has furthered its partnership with the University of California Davis (UC Davis) to develop first-of-its-kind technology for production of furan-2,5- dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). While current approaches to the commercialization of FDCA use fructose as a feedstock, the Mercurius-UC Davis process operates from raw biomass.

According to a statement, this new technology does not compete with food sources, and estimates show that it will be lower in cost than competing processes. The furan-2,5- dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) molecule is a key component of polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a recyclable polymer with a wide range of applications including fibres and plastic containers. PEF is a promising replacement for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a widely used polymer for consumer products signified by the plastics recycling code “1”.

We are thrilled to work with UC Davis to develop this technology, further supporting the production of biomaterials and realization of the circular carbon economy, said Karl Seck, President of Mercurius Biorefining.

Proprietary REACH process

Founded in 2009, with the mission to produce biochemicals and drop-in fuels through novel applications of existing technologies, Mercurius Biorefining has patented the Renewable Acid Hydrolysis Condensation Hydrotreating (REACH) technology, which allows for divergent product streams using non-food biomass feedstock.

We look very much forward to partnering with Mercurius Biorefining on the commercialization of this process, which will provide a value stream to support the development of the REACH biofuel technology, commented Mark Mascal, Professor of Chemistry at UC Davis.

Mercurius Biorefining continues to develop the proprietary REACH technology at its pilot facility in Maine, converting cellulosic waste feedstock including the organic fraction portion of municipal solid waste (MSW), agriculture and forestry wastes into a wide range of products such as drop-in, renewable diesel, and aviation biojet fuel.

With funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), current project partners include the University of Maine and Purdue University.

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