Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research » Research » Research Project #439256

Research Project: Chemical Conversion of Biomass into High Value Products

Location: Sustainable Biofuels and Co-products Research

Project Number: 8072-41000-110-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 22, 2020
End Date: Sep 21, 2025

1. Develop new functional (phenolics derived from fractionated bio-oils, monomeric sugars from carbohydrate, and amino acids) biobased fatty acid products from chemical technologies. Subobjective 1a: Development of monomeric fatty acid-based products with antimicrobial properties. Subobjective 1b: Development of polymeric fatty acid products from the monomeric sugar based-fatty acid products. 2. Develop chemical and enzymatic approaches to convert triglycerides derived from low (or no) value waste or bio-residue into valuable commercial products. 3. Develop innovative technologies to modify nonfermentable hemicellulosic and cellulosic carbohydrate polymers isolated from lignocellulosic biomass including agricultural residues, agricultural processing by-products and energy crops into commercially viable novel co-products.

To address these objectives, research tasks will be performed with industrial partners and other collaborators. The approach will involve catalyst selection, process design, product isolation, purification and characterization methodologies to develop new functional biobased products. First, recyclable solid catalysts will be explored to introduce branching between the functional hydroxyl group and unsaturation on the fatty acid alkyl chain to generate functional fatty acid monomers with improved antimicrobial properties. Second, the functional monomers will be engineered into hydroxylic-oil based polyurethane biopolymers with active hydroxy sites on the surfaces to prevent buildup of bacteria colonies. Third, functional groups will be introduced on unsaturated carbons of the fatty acid chain of triglycerides through chemical and enzymatical methods. The resulting triglyceride-based products will have improved lubricant solubility and low temperature properties. Finally, chemical modification will be developed to utilize the isolated carbohydrate polymer fractions and generate new carbohydrate products. Isolation of carbohydrate polymers will be performed on agriculture processing byproducts and agricultural residues using an improved isolation method. All functional products will be subjected to analytical characterizations for structural identification and will be evaluated for their applications and commercial uses. Attaining these objectives will create superior new antimicrobial, antioxidant, emulsifier, biolubricant, and biopolymer functional materials.