Bioconversion of CO/syngas into the plastic precursor 1,6-hexanediol

The aim of BioCOnversion is to develop and implement a sustainable process from CO to 1,6-hexanediol by evaluating different technologies. 1,6-hexanediol is an essential component for polyol formation, later applied for polyurethane dispersions. In addition, recent applications of 1,6-hexanediol were proven in UV-curable resins, epoxy resin systems, in alkyd resins and as a potential nylon-6 precursor. Based on the fact that 1,6-hexanediol is conventionally made from fossil resources, there is a strong demand and need for sustainable production routes for this promising building block from renewable non-food feedstocks.

A sustainable production process from 1st generation feedstocks (food feedstocks) has already been implemented, but no 3rd generation feedstock process based on process gases is known so far. Therefore, BioCOnversion brings together international partners from Flanders, the Netherlands and North-Rhine Westphalia, from industry and academia, with high-level, multidisciplinary expertise to develop a process comprising the primary conversion of CO/syngas into to the intermediate 1-hexanol through gas fermentation and the subsequent enzymatic upgrading conversion of 1-hexanol to the promising polymer building block 1,6-hexanediol. The established consortium will cover the entire value chain from CO/syngas to 1,6-hexanediol by uniting innovative providers of conversion and recovery technologies.

Besides 2 large industries represented by thyssenkrupp Steel Europe who will provide the CO steel processes gases as feedstock and Covestro as a 1,6-hexanediol purchaser, 6 universities, 4 research and technology organizations and 2 SMEs are involved in this project. The project is coordinated and disseminated by CLIB2021. nova-Institut is involved in the process evaluation to provide an eco-economic evaluation, a techno-economic assessment (TEE) of the process feasibility and a life cycle assessment (LCA) to prove the overall ecological process sustainability. Despite nova-Institut is part of the expert group responsible for the conceptional design of all process stages to finally generate a sustainable, sufficient production of 1,6-hexanediol from 3rd generation feedstocks.