Arkema, the diversified French chemical company, announced an agreement with a regional government council in France and two university laboratories to launch a research program to develop bio-based acrylics. The program’s objective is the production of new “green” acrylic-acid derivatives.
Acrylic acid is a key raw material in a number of products, including paints and coatings.
Christian Collette, Arkema research & development vice president, and Jean-Pierre Masseret, president of the Lorraine Regional Council, signed the research agreement at Arkema’s CRDE (Centre de Recherche et de Développement de l’Est) R&D Center in Carling, France.
The research program will aim to develop an industrial process for the synthesis of glycerol—a byproduct of the processing of rapeseed into biodiesel—into acrylic acid. In conventional processes, acrylic acid is produced from propylene, a petrochemical.
Arkema said the program is part of a plan to establish an “expertise hub” in bio-based chemistry in the region, with glycerol—available in large quantities in the region—serving as a key raw material. Approximately 11 million euros will be invested in the project over a three-year period.
Collette said Arkema, at the Carling site, possesses “unique know-know in France in acrylic processes. On the strength of our long-standing experience in the processing of vegetable raw materials, we therefore had a genuine scientific legitimacy to initiate this program and this ‘green chemistry’ scheme in Lorraine.”
Arkema said the research project will also capitalize on the expertise in chemical and process engineering and in analysis techniques of two academic laboratories: LRGP (Laboratoire Réactions et Génie des procédés) at ENSIC chemical-engineering school in Nancy, France, and MOPS (Laboratoire Matériaux Optiques, Photonique et Système) at Paul Verlaine University in Metz, France.
Arkema, based near Paris, operates three business segments: Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals, and Performance Products. The company’s key raw materials for coatings include acrylic and fluoropolymer resins.
The company recently completed the acquisition of the Dow Chemical Company’s acrylic monomers and acrylic latex polymers (UCAR Emulsions Systems) business in North America. The acquired business comprises a new business unit—Arkema Emulsions Systems.