GFBiochemicals (Milan, Italy), a company that specializes in the research, development and production of biobased chemicals and fuels, has announced that it is starting commercialization of levulinic acid at its plant in Caserta, Italy. The company says that it has developed a breakthrough production process for levulinic acid that has been successfully tested at demo-scale since 2008. It is now undergoing further development at industrial scale.
Levulinic acid was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 12 biobased building block chemicals of the future. Levulinic acid is a carbon-based compound (C5H8O3) with potential to generate value-added derivative chemicals and biofuels. It looks to be poised to become a new platform chemical with derivative products in a broad range of markets. In plastics, it is to be used as raw material for the manufacturing of plasticizers, solvents and polyols for polyurethane foams and is seen as a potential replacement to phthalate plasticizer added to manufacture PVC, the largest consumed commodity plastic.