444799 Biomass Conversion to Isoprene

Tuesday, April 12, 2016: 8:00 AM
344AB (Hilton Americas - Houston)
Dolly Chitta1, Robert Price2 and Mukund Karanjikar2, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, (2)Technology Holding LLC, Salt Lake City, UT

Isoprene is an important raw material in the process industry. It is a feedstock for poly-isoprene and thermoplastics. Polyisoprene is used in a wide variety of rubber applications including medical equipment, baby bottle teats/nipples, toys, shoe soles, tires, latex®, and elastic films and threads for golf balls or textiles. It is also used in adhesives, paints and coatings. Butyl rubber, co-polymer of isoprene with isobutene, has outstanding impermeability to gases and is used, for example, in inner tubes. Styrene-isoprene-rubber is a copolymer that is used in pressure sensitive adhesives. Currently, it is co-produced in ethylene cracker (from light naphtha) or pyrolytic gasoline production processes. Both these processes are fossil based.

The authors will present a novel method to convert biomass to renewable isoprene. The method utilizes metabolically engineered E. coil and low temperature post-processing to selectively produce isoprene. The process is based upon advanced fermentation. Results for conversion of biomass derived sugars will be presented. Overall mass and energy balances and process system analysis alongwith preliminary economics will be described. Ability to produce isoprene from biomass will enable renewable rubber industry and reduce the environmental impact by reducing use of fossil feedstock.

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