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BASF, Cargill and Novozymes will collaborate to produce acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. This acrylic acid will be used to manufacture super absorbent polymers that are incorporated into diapers as well as other hygiene products. Presently, acrylic acid is produced by the oxidation of propylene derived from the refining of crude oil.
Novozymes and Cargill have collaborated on renewable acrylic acid technology since 2008. Both companies have worked to develop microorganisms that can efficiently convert renewable feedstock into 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which is one possible chemical precursor to acrylic acid. Novozymes has experience with developing technologies for bio-based production of chemicals used in plastics, ingredients, etc., whereas Cargill contributes its global expertise in sourcing renewable feedstocks and large-scale fermentation to the project.
BASF has now joined the collaboration to develop the process for conversion of 3-HP into acrylic acid. BASF is the world's largest producer of acrylic acid and has substantial capabilities in its production and downstream processing. The company plans initially to use the bio-based acrylic acid to manufacture super absorbent polymers.