The Italian bioeconomy is growing. Bio-on, an innovative industrial biotech company, and Eridania Sadam, sub-holding of the agro-food sector owned by the Maccaferri Group of Bologna, will work together on defining and optimising the production of levulinic acid, a key molecule for the sustainable and low-impact future of the chemical industry. Already available on the international market, but in insufficient quantities, levulinic acid is currently obtained from industrial processes with an environmental impact that fails to meet European standards.
The new project aims to convert the by-products of the sugar industry into levulinic acid, optimising innovative processes that team environmental sustainability and the reduction of production costs. The integration between agriculture and advanced biochemistry will enable levulinic acid production solely from agricultural waste not intended for human food, with carbon atoms generated from carbon dioxide captured in the atmosphere with chlorophyllian photosynthesis.
The collaboration between Bio-on and Eridania Italia adds a further building block in the construction of the Italian green chemical industry. This natural molecule, which has immediate application in the biodegradable plastics sector, extending its field of application, also contributes towards the creation of new eco fuels, fertilisers and antiparasitics; it is also an intermediate element in the creation of high-performing plastics, medications and many other new “green” products.
“At this initial development stage conducted by Bio-on, we will invest 1.8 mln Euro,” says Massimo Maccaferri of Eridania Sadam, “because this molecule is an extraordinary tool that can kick-start the re-launch of the Italian chemical industry, but with a modern, eco-compatible and eco-sustainable approach.”
“Levulinic acid is considered one of the ten building blocks of the green chemical industry of the future,” explains Marco Astorri, Chairman of Bio-on. “Working on a new method of producing it on an industrial scale over the coming months fills us with pride and enables us to consolidate our leadership in the development of modern biochemistry.”