Separation Process for Biobased Lactic AcidEPA Contract Number: 68D03027
Title: Separation Process for Biobased Lactic Acid
Investigators: Dunuwila, Dillum D.
Small Business: Lec Tech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: April 1, 2003 through September 1, 2003
Project Amount: $69,966
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2003) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , SBIR - Nanotechnology , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Lactic acid (CAS No. 50-21-5, 2-hydroxypropanoic acid) is the most widely occurring hydroxycarboxylic acid and is distributed in normal food. Presently, lactic acid is used primarily in food and food-related applications. A small amount is used in medicine and cosmetics. More recently, due to the demand for "greener" chemicals for use in chemistry and engineering technologies, the scope for lactic acid has broadened. Particularly, very large-volume opportunities have materialized in biodegradable polymer feedstocks. Consequently, several agriprocessing and chemical companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill Dow LLC, and PURAC have either announced plans to produce lactic acid from carbohydrate fermentation or have production underway. These developments are expected to boost the fermentation-derived lactic acid capacity. The most formidable challenge facing the industry is the development of an efficient separation process for the recovery and purification of biobased lactic acid. At present, an economically viable process that does not generate waste by-products does not exist. During this Phase I research project, Lec Tech, Inc., will attempt to develop a highly efficient, economically viable, and environmentally friendly separation process for biobased lactic acid that eliminates the generation of waste or by-products.