Process to Improve FDCA Manufacturing


Executive Summary


As global markets and governments are pushing to reduce fossil fuel dependencies, novel manufacturing methods of bio-based plastics are being pursued. However the cost and conversion efficiencies of creating environmentally-friendly plastics hinder the conversion from petroleum-based plastics to bio-based plastics. This novel process aims to reduce the price and increase the conversion efficiencies of manufacturing key precursors necessary for making Polyethylene Furanoate ester (PEF), a bio-plastic analogue for Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE).


Description of Technology


While plastics derived from biomass are common subjects of research, the ability to efficiently manufacture these plastics has proved difficult. Polyethylene Furanoate ester (PEF) is a suitable bio-alternative for Polyethylene Terephthalate ester (PETE), but producing PEF is restricted by the difficulty of manufacturing its precursor, Furandicarboxylic Acid (FDCA). Current methods to make FDCA require unstable intermediate compounds (such as HMF) and processes run under dilute conditions, use expensive catalysts, and result in low yields. MSU researchers have discovered a way to manufacture FDCA from biomass without unstable intermediates such as HMF and at high reactant concentrations, thereby reducing the cost to manufacture FDCA.  MSU’s process converts aldaric acids derived from biomass to FDCA in a one-step reaction in an ionic liquid or sulfonic acid catalyst. 


Key Benefits

  • Green technology:  Precursors glucuronic and galactaric acids (together known as aldaric acids) are obtained from pectins and macroalgae biomass
  • Low cost:  By avoiding difficult intermediates such as HMF and expensive catalysts, this process lowers the cost to make FDCA
  • Extended shelf-life: PEF has superior gas barrier properties as compared to PETE, therefore PEF packaging may increase the shelf-life of packaged foods and beverages



  • Plastic bottles or films, including alcoholic beverages and other beverages that require high oxygen-barrier packaging
  • Food packaging
  • Synthetic fibers
  • Fabrics
  • Carpeting


Patent Status: 


Patent issued, no. 9,701,652 


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Dennis Miller, Lars Peereboom, Matthew Gattinger, Evan Wegener


Tech ID: TEC2015-0041

Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University