A scientific breakthrough for greater sustainability
“Deriving aniline from biomass is another important step towards making the chemicals and plastics industry more independent of the fossil raw materials that are in short supply.“
The industry currently wins aniline from benzene, a petroleum-based raw material. However, unrefined raw sugar, which is already derived on large scale as a renewable raw material from, for example, feed corn, straw and wood, can be used instead. The newly developed process uses a microorganism as a catalyst to first convert the industrial sugar into a precursor. The aniline is then produced by means of chemical catalysis in a second step. One hundred percent of the carbon contained in aniline thus comes from renewable raw materials.
This breakthrough enables a clear improvement in the CO₂ footprint of the production process, both with us and in our customers’ plants. The new process also brings direct economic benefits because a broader base of raw materials helps manufacturers to be more independent of the fluctuations of the market. And in a responsible way: the manufacturing of bio-based aniline only requires a small cultivation area and can be based on non-food feedstocks, even when it comes to supplying larger plants.
This opens up even further promise for the viable and sustainable production of polyurethane rigid foam which is widely used to insulate buildings and cooling devices.