New raw material platforms for PEF
The focus of the PFIFF project was to develop new feedstock platforms for 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), which is accessible from sugars and is considered a future new biobased platform chemical, and for furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the monomer unit for the production of PEF, which is produced from it. Further tasks in the PFIFF project were the improvement of the polymer properties of PEF, as well as the development of new conversion processes and an increase in production with the ambitious goal of replacing one of the dominant plastics (PET) on the world market.
Synthesis and purification of FDCA
In the project, Fraunhofer IGB's BioCat branch worked on two topics that are crucial for the future industrial production of PEF: the synthesis of FDCA and the development of a process to purify this compound to a quality sufficient for the production of high-quality polymers.
One of the major topics of BioCat's work is electrochemical synthesis. In this context, the institute's staff has succeeded in developing a promising process for the oxidation of 5-HMF to FDCA.
Work on the purification of FDCA has also been very successful. With the commercially available FDCA purified at BioCat, the project partners were able to produce promising polymers for the planned applications.
Outlook: Scale-up of purification process within the follow-up project PFIFFIG
Currently, the BioCat team is working on a second-generation purification process in the follow-up project PFIFFIG, which is to be transferred to the Fraunhofer CBP pilot plants during the course of the project in order to enable the supply of larger quantities of purified FDCA to the project partners.