Green Chemistry: developed procedures for the production of bio-based acrylic acid

Mild reaction conditions promise cost savings compared to oil-based technology

Scientists of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg have developed a new process for the production of acrylic acid, which puts on the liquid phase dehydration of fermentative won lactic acid. It promises advantages over the conventional production of propene: milder reaction conditions, a simpler reactor technology and a bio-based raw material source.

The process development took place in cooperation with the industry partner Procter & gamble (P & G). Promoted the project has the Ministry of food and Agriculture (BMEL) about the project carrier specialist agency renewable raw materials e. V. (FNR). The final report is available on 22009614 available at the grant number.

Annually, over 5 million tons of acrylic acid are processed into consumer goods. Acrylatpolymere, for example in the manufacture of paints, coatings, adhesives and as a liquid absorber in hygiene products such as diapers, play an important role. Today, to produce acrylic acid via a two-stage oxidation process of the fossil propene. The production technology is relatively costly and expensive. The researchers developed a promising procedure alternative now with the liquid phase dehydration of lactic acid.

The catalytic reaction system based dehydration on a dehydration supported by a Nucleophile, the researchers briefly as NADA – assisted Nucleophilic referred to acrylates. The NADA system converts lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives with hydrogen bromide Catalysis at yields of about 80 percent to acrylic acid. In the course of the development of NADA, the researchers identified novel, promising lactic acid derivatives such as 2-Brompropionsäure, which synthesize itself from commercially available substrates such as lactic acid or DL-lactide and convert to bio acrylic acid. On this basis, the NADA technology was divided into several process driving. The required reaction temperature of the NADA system lies at around 200 ° C and is thus lower than the 250-400 ° C, expires in the acrylic acid production from propene. The lactic acid dehydration already before the project experiments successfully conducted through gas phase reaction required temperatures of 300 to 400 ° C.

The researchers built and optimized a continuous Miniplant laboratory facility on base of the NADA developed technology. Currently the most economically promising variant of possible NADA process driving the industry partner will be validated technically and economically P & G. P & G is looking for a technology partner for further development of the process in the industrial scale also.


Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, press release, 2018-04-05.


Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL)
Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR)
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Procter & Gamble


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