Levulinic acid isn’t something very familiar. It may, however, be a step in a brighter direction to solve our current environmental crisis. GFBiochemicals is the first of its kind in the world to mass produce the acid and the hidden benefits the product carries are quite astonishing. Initially started in 2008, GFBiochemical is one company that has realized the potential of the substance and the wider applications it can be used for. There are many challenges the company sees today that Levulinic acid can solve. Being a more green, biodegradable, clean-burning, and biomass waste-derived material, it is a huge step in a cleaner fuel that can be created from grass, wheat straw, wood, and cellulose.
Using an advanced reactor technology, the cellulosic biomass enters a pre-treatment procedure that then moves through GFBiochemical’s patented technology where through a separation process, char is produced. The remaining material undergoes GFB purification and levulinic acid along with formic acid is produced. The waste from the process can then go through a waste water treatment procedure and used again.
The company has a goal to replace petroleum based products to produce a greener clean-burning alternative that is much better for the environment. At the moment, the cost to produce levulinic acid is much higher than needed in order to replace petroleum-based chemicals. According to MarketWired (Nasdaq), the current cost is between $5 and $8 USD per kilo. This needs to be reduced to below $1 USD (which is the target price) which will open a number of research opportunities in energy, transportation, PVC, and polymers.
Levulinic acid can also solve the immense plastic bottle waste currently produced since the biodegradable plastic would both be produced in a more green fashion and leave a minimal footprint when discarded.
What does this mean?
At this time, BFchemicals is bringing a material that can even be used as an environmentally friendly fuel. Something that can possibly reshape the world. Although levulinic acid research is on-going, the concepts are promising in a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, agro-chemicals, flavors and fragrances, resins and coatings, personal care, polymers and plasticizers, fuel additives, and green solvents. With already four locations, those interested can also already request samples directly on their website at GFBiochemicals Samples.