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Rivertop starts commercial glucarates production

Montana, US-based Rivertop Renewables recently announced the start-up of commercial manufacturing of the company’s glucarate-based products through its partnership with DTI, a custom manufacturer of fine and specialty chemical products based in Danville, Virginia.

Rivertop said this will be the first of several planned production facilities for its patented technology.  With successful commissioning and initial production milestones, Rivertop and DTI are focused on achieving production at nameplate capacity of 10 million pounds/year.

Among the products to be manufactured at the Virginia facility are Rivertop’s Riose® detergent builder, Waterline™ corrosion inhibitors and chelating agents, and Headwaters® corrosion inhibitor. Riose®, the sugar-derived detergent builder, is designed for the consumer segment of the automatic dishwashing detergent market, and can reportedly lower total cost of detergent formulations.  Builders have several functions in detergents, most visible of which is improving detergent performance by solubilizing hard water ions, thus preventing spotting on glassware.

Waterline™ corrosion inhibitors and chelating agents was recently introduced as a new family of cost-effective, high performance chemicals designed to be integrated with products in the water treatment industry.  They are being marketed as lower cost, high performance alternatives to phosphate-based options in water treatment formulations.

Headwaters® corrosion inhibitor are blended with salt brine by state and municipal highway departments to help reduce the corrosive impacts of the de-icer on roads, bridges and vehicles. Rivertop currently supplies customers in western states and is looking to expand its reach to the Midwest and East Coast.

Official ribbon-cutting of Rivertop’s new production facility at DTI’s Danville, Virginia, site.

Glucaric acid has been recognized by the US Department of Energy as one of the top 12 biobased building block chemicals from sugar. Traditional pathways of producing glucaric acid have been reportedly costly, energy intensive and environmentally challenging, relegating its use to mainly pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications.

Rennovia is another company that has developed its own process technology to produce glucaric acid, and has partnered with engineering firm, Johnson Matthey Process Technologies, for the start-up of a mini plant for glucaric acid production, which occurred in July this year.  Rennovia aims to use glucaric acid as an intermediate in the production of adipic acid via catalytic hydrogenation.

A new company also looking to develop a cost-effective bioprocess-derived glucaric acid is Massachusetts-based Kalion Inc., an early stage industrial biotech company founded in September 2011.  The company is looking to use strains of E.coli to produce glucaric acid as well as 3-HBL (hydroxy-gamma butyrolactone).

 

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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