Biobased terephthalic acid (TPA) for polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Although beverage companies like Coca-Cola Ltd. have adopted biobased-PET since 2009, they use petroleum based TPA and therefore the PET's percentage biomass carbon content is a mere 20%. In a February 2015 publication [1], researchers propose a viable synthetic route, shown in Figure 1 (below), for the preparation of biobased TPA from furfural alone, which is produced industrially from inedible cellulosic biomass.


Fig 1 - Furfural to TPA [1]

The researchers now aim to reduce the number of process steps to two and increase the overall yields.

Furfural is an ideal biomass resource, as it is traditionally produced from cellulosic and waste biomass such as corncob, corn stock, and rice hull. Furthermore, it is extremely abundant, with a global output of 500,000–1,000,000 tonnes/year.


PTA is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2011, reaching 66 million tons in 2020, with Asia-Pacific expected to account for around 82% of its demand. [2]

Also See:

image   Polyester From Furfural (November 2014)

image   Furfural as feedstock for PET alternatives (December 2013)

image   Important chemicals for the production of biomass-based monomers (Nov 2013)

image Renewable platform chemical and building block (October 2013)

image   Moving the field of furfural and its by-products into the limelight it deserves


[1] Synthesis and Verification of Biobased Terephthalic Acid from Furfural

[2] CBI Research: China and India to Lead Global Purified Terephthalic Acid Demand Growth by 2020 (accessed: 19 April 2015)


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