Published December 2010
In a U.S. Department of Energy report published in 2004, succinic acid was identified as one of the top twelve building-block chemicals that could be produced from renewable feedstocks. Currently, succinic acid uses a petroleum-derived maleic anhydride route for its production, which is both costly and environmentally unfriendly. As a result, there is a growing interest towards discovering a more economical and environmentally cleaner way for its production. One methodology that has been receiving increased attention is the use of bacterial microorganisms. This technology takes advantage of the fermentative capabilities of various microorganisms and utilizes a renewable substrate as a carbon source for acid formation.
Succinic acid production from microbial organisms has tremendous potential as a building block for commodity chemicals with applications in several industries. Some of the succinic acid derivatives include: tetrahydrofuran (THF), 1,4-butanediol (BDO), succindiamide, succinonitrile, dimethylsuccinate, N-methyl-pyrrolidone, 2-pyrrolidone, and 1,4-diaminobutane.
This PEP Review discusses and provides a detailed techno-economic analysis for bio-based succinic acid production with a capacity of 82.7 million lb/year (37,500 mt/yr). Additionally, it covers information regarding genetic engineering mechanisms, regulation of specific enzymes, and purification of succinic acid to provide a cost-competitive alternative to fossil fuels.
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