VTT has long experience of fractionation and converting bio-oils and extractives:
- Biotechnical production of certain bio-oils
- Converting tall oil
- Fractionating and modifying suberin fatty acids and betulin obtained from birch bark
- Catalytically convert terpenes
Oils and extractives are typical bioenergy components for fuels and combustion, but they also provide an attractive platform for the replacement of platform and speciality chemicals.
VTT has together with Stora-Enso developed efficient catalytical methods to oxidize betulin to betulinic acid, which is a highly valuable key intermediate for cosmetic and medicinal applications.
VTT has with the customer developed together efficient catalytical methods to convert turpentine to p-cymene, which can further be converted to terephthalate for production of PET plastics.
Extraction and modification of fatty acids and terpenes
Our core competence is the development of extraction processes to isolate valuable extractives and fatty acids from renewable sources and further upgrade these compounds to valuable fine and specialty chemicals.
Of special interest are chemical and biotechnical valorisation of non-food fatty acids such as tall oil fatty acids (TOFA) or suberin fatty acids for surfactants, lubricants and multifunctional monomer building blocks for polymers and resins.
In addition, chemical and biotechnical upgrading of terpenes, such as crude sulphate turpentine (CST), tall oil rosin (TOR) and betulin to monomer building blocks, fine chemicals or bioactive agents suitable for example to cosmetics.
Extensive laboratory, pilot and analytical equipments with skilled internationally oriented staff
VTT has more than a decade of experience in the upgrading of fatty acids and terpenes. All necessary laboratory and pilot-scale equipment and facilities are available. In addition, various analytical methods such GC-MS, NMR, SSNMR, FTIR, NIR. Py-GC-MS, HP-SEC, DSC, CE, UV-VIS.
VTT has collaborated with numerous European research institutes and domestic and foreign universities.
VTT has collaborated in several projects with many relevant customer sectors in the value chain, such as the forest and chemical industry, as well as end-users such as polymer manufacturers, plant protection and cosmetic companies.
Potential application areas: monomer building blocks for polymers, resins and composites; lubricants, surfactants, compatibilizers, plasticizers; fine and specialty chemicals and bioactive agents.