Essen, Germany – Evonik and researchers at the University of Graz have found a biological route to 1-alkenes that can be incorporated into petrochemical production.
The company said in a press release that researchers have found a biocatalytic route to propylene and 1-butene which are the foundations of many subsequent downstream petrochemical products including propylene oxide a pre-cursor for many polyols.
Industry researchers took a year to develop enzymes that can take short-chain alkanoic acids, produced by bacteria and convert them into 1-alkenes. The breakthrough is based on P450 monooxygenase OleT, which catalyses the oxidative decarboxylation of alkanoic acid very efficiently, Evonik said.
Thomas Haas, head of the science and technology unit at Creavis, Evonik’s strategic innovation unit said: “We are now working on transferring enzyme production to living cells. However, there is still much work to do before we are ready for industrial-scale production.”