Catalyzing Sustainability in High Volume Chemicals

Envision a world where chemicals are made from sugar rather than petroleum. To bring sustainability to large volume petrochemicals, Låkril Technologies will bring to market a game-changing technology for the production of a drop-in sustainable acrylic acid. Låkril will sell catalyst and license processes utilizing a licensed, patent-pending bi-functional catalyst system to produce acrylic acid and the acrylate derivatives from sustainably produced lactic acid.

Critical Need for the Technology

Today, 6.5 million metric tons of acrylic acid and acrylate derivatives are produced globally each year as chemical intermediates. This $10 billion industry growing at a 3-4 percent CAGR is the basis for superabsorbent polymers, latex paints, many industrial coatings systems, and numerous other uses. These acrylics are produced entirely from petroleum with a value chain that runs through refining and recovery of propylene before oxidation to the desired acrylic acid product. This chain creates significant CO2 emissions – about 16 million kg CO2/yr. Instead, we will utilize bio-based sugar sources (corn / beets) to sustainably & economically produce this high-volume chemical at low CO2 footprint from lactic acid fermented from the bio-based sugar source. Låkril’s patent-pending catalytic technology offers 90 percent yield of acrylics from the lactic feedstock, the first technology to hit the economic commercialization barrier for the long-known lactic-to-acrylic reaction.

Competition

Cargill / P&G – only other catalyst technology to achieve >75 percent yield of acrylics

Dow / BASF / etc – while unlikely, if they were to supply bio-based, sustainable propylene, the acrylic acid market could continue on as usual

Potential Markets

Låkril will license its groundbreaking technology and sell catalyst into 4 potential market segments. These include: 1) today’s acrylic acid producers (Dow, BASF, etc) who have been searching for bio-based acrylic supply at a reasonable price for 20 years, 2) acrylic acid and acrylate product formulators such as 3M, Covestro, allnex, Sherwin-Williams, etc who have been consistently looking for a bio-based, sustainable solution for their customers, 3) lactic acid producers (Cargill, Corbion, Galactic, Jungbunzlauer, etc) looking for additional market reach, 4) ethanol producers (POET, many small companies) who are experts in fermentation and chemical processing looking for market resilience.

Key Innovation

Låkril’s patent-pending catalytic technology offers 90 percent yield of acrylics from the lactic feedstock, the first technology to hit the economic commercialization barrier for the long-known lactic-to-acrylic reaction.

R & D Status of Project

We are today at bench (1g) scale with a catalyst prototype. We are designing and scaling a 3 step process encompassing pretreatment, reaction, and separation to design a 30kMTA lactic-to-acrylic process.

Team Overview

Co-Founder and President – Christopher P. Nicholas

Co-Founder and Chief Technical Advisor – Paul Dauenhauer

Board of Directors Member – Andy Shafer

Technology Profile

Status: Patent-pending and exclusively licensed from the University of Minnesota
Primary industry: Chemicals, paints and coatings
Category (i.e. tech keywords): greentech, sustainability, decarbonization

Estimated annual revenue: N/A
Employs: 3
Social challenge: reducing carbon intensity of high-volume chemical production
R&D commercial collaborator: N/A

 

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