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Commercial-scale production for bio-based levulinic acid

By Gerald Ondrey |

This summer, GFBiochemicals Green Future S.r.l. (Milan, Italy; www.gfbiochemicals.com) will start commercial-scale production of bio-based levulinic acid using its proprietary, continuous-production process. The company says it will produce 2,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) at its plant in Caserta, Italy later this year, followed by scaleup to 4,000 m.t./yr in 2016 and then 8,000 m.t./yr by 2017. Initially, the feedtock for the production will be starch, but the company plans to switch to cellulose feedstock during 2016. Recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (Washington, D.C.; www.energy.gov) as one of the twelve future bio-based building-block chemicals, levulinic acid has potential as a starting material for a wide number of compounds, with applications in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, flavors and fragrances and food additives, as well as resins and coatings, plasticizers, solvents and fuel additives.
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