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Issue 06/2017

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From Science & Research

From Science & Research PEF: an alternative with a future Within the European project EnzOx2 (New enzymatic oxidation/oxyfunctionalization technologies for added value bio-based products. BBI JU, European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme), research is being conducted on the development of new biochemical technologies based on the use of oxidative enzymes with the aim of providing innovative solutions in the production of some high added-value compounds from biomass compounds. This project has a huge interest, since the use of this kind of enzymes is practically unexplored at industrial level. The obtaining of these products entails different oxidation and oxyfunctionalization reactions catalysed by different types of fungal oxidoreductases (such as oxidases and peroxygenases). In this context, EnzOx2 plans to develop a 100 % enzymatic conversion of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) or 5-methoxymethylfurfural (MMF) into diformylfuran and 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a plastic building-block to be used in substitution of terephthalic acid. Moreover, another research line of this project will focus on optimizing the selective hydroxylation of plant lipids (such as fatty acids, terpenes and steroids) with the aim of producing flavour and fragrance ingredients, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Therefore, one of the working lines which AIMPLAS is working in is related to the synthesis of derivates of polyethylene furanoate (PEF). In order to carry out the polymerization of this family of compounds, one of the monomers derived from the biomass, in particular FDCA will be employed. These new bioplastics, derived from PEF, have many advantages and they could be good candidates for the replacement of fossil-based polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (figure 1). Some of the advantages of this type of biopolymer in comparison with PET are: • PEF has a 50 % lower carbon footprint compared to PET. • PEF has oxygen permeability values, carbon dioxide and water better than the values of PET. • When compared to the properties of PET, its polymer has a lower melting temperature, while the glass transition temperature is higher. • PEF can be processed in the same way and with the same equipment as PET. • Its recycling process is the same as for PET. Figure 2: Technology used by Avantium [1] 34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/17] Vol. 12

By: Alba Ortiz Researcher, Chemical Laboratory AIMPLAS, Valencia, Spain From Science & Research Since 2005, the company Avantium has developed a patented technology (YXY technology) to produce bio-based polymers: PEF from different sources, such as plants, grain, lignocellulose (wood) and even wastes like paper or agricultural residues. The main advantages of the EnzOx2 biochemical technology (which uses oxidases and/or peroxygenases) for producing PEF are the following: • The reaction conditions for obtaining this compound are softer, which entails an important decrease in the manufacturing costs. • Due to the high selectivity of the biochemical technology used, the number of byproducts, such as monofunctional monomers, is diminished. • AIMPLAS will develop the synthesis of compounds derived from PEF, so the influence of these modifications in the final properties could be assessed (figure 3). For that reason, during the three years duration of the EnzOx2 project, twelve participants from five European countries will work on the production of high added-value products from plant biomass using enzymatic technologies. References: [1] Think Sustainable M·VERA ® Bioplastics With our M·VERA® range of biobased and biodegradable plastics (certified to EN 13432), we provide you with customised solutions for your application: • Film Such as shopping bags, fruit and vegetable bags or agricultural films • Injection Moulding Such as packaging, coffee capsules, cutlery and others • Color, Carbon Black and Additive Masterbatches Our team of highly experienced plastic specialists is pleased to help you – contact us! Figure 1: PEF vs PET O O O O O n O O O O n polyethylene furanoate (PEF) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Figure 3: PEF derivatives obtained by AIMPLAS within the European project EnzOx2 O O O m O PEF analogues O n BIO-FED Branch of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH BioCampus Cologne · Nattermannallee 1 50829 Cologne · Germany Phone: +49 221 88 8894-00 Fax: +49 221 88 88 94-99 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/17] Vol. 12 35

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