Researchers partner with Valerian Materials to scale bio-based BMVL

September 26, 2022 |

In Illinois, through funding provided by BioMADE, the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Valerian Materials, the University of Minnesota, and Scientific Bioprocessing Inc. (SBI) have partnered to perform research and development on novel sustainable materials solutions. Launched in 2021, BioMADE is the most-recently established Manufacturing Innovation Institute. By supporting the development of biomanufacturing technologies, BioMADE and its network of 150+ members are strengthening American competitiveness, creating a more resilient supply chain, and helping the U.S. becoming more self-sufficient. This project is one of several being funded by BioMADE as part of its mission to secure America’s future through bioindustrial manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration.

Valerian Materials, an emerging company focusing on the development of bio-derived, recyclable, and sustainable polymers, will lead the partnership that will optimize and scale the production of betamethylvalerolactone (BMVL), a bio-based molecule with potential to be converted into several different types of polymeric materials and products. The fermentation and downstream processing will be performed at NCERC, a globally-recognized research institution dedicated to the commercialization of biobased fuels and products. Scientific Bioprocessing Inc., a leading-edge instrumentation company focused on connecting sensor technology to data analytics, will work in tandem with NCERC to provide equipment and expertise related to fermentation monitoring, analysis and control.

Simultaneously, at the University of Minnesota, researchers in the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science will explore the incorporation of BMVL into advanced polymeric materials. They will be working to define not only the range of possible properties and applications of these sustainable polymers, but will also investigate their environmental degradation and chemical recycling characteristics to develop viable and sustainable end-of-use solutions.

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