In recent years, the biological chemical industry is continuously accelerating the penetration into the traditional chemical industry, at present, the biological chemical industry has partially replaced the traditional chemical industry. With the further development of synthetic biology, the bio-chemical industry will become a powerful supplement to the traditional chemical industry, and also put forward higher requirements for chemical separation technology.
Kang Xiaoling, general manager of DODGEN Chemical, explained the growth potential of the bio-chemical industry in the special interview from DT new materials, pointed out the bottleneck of industrial development, and gave the direction of breakthrough difficulties from the perspective of green chemical technology.
At present, the biochemical industry has partially replaced the traditional chemical industry, such as bioethanol, amino acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, bio-nylon, biopolymer materials, etc. With the further development of synthetic biology, the proportion of the biochemical industry replacing the traditional chemical industry will gradually increase, and I think the pace will be faster.
Although the biological chemical industry has mild synthetic conditions, and chiral material uniformity can be obtained, especially in the field of drug synthesis, which does not depend on fossil energy (resources), but the biological chemical synthesis of crude products tends to have low concentration, complex components, purification difficulties such as faults, it puts forward new and higher requirements for the traditional chemical separation technology.
Biochemistry requires new separation technology with fine separation capability, which can separate various components in crude products to obtain different biochemicals. Because biochemical reactions often contain heat-sensitive substances, it requires that the separation technology cloud be carried out at a relatively low temperature to reduce the occurrence of side reactions.
The bio-chemical industry is developing rapidly nowadays, and I believe it is also the development trend of the green chemical industry (green synthesis) in the future, as well as a powerful supplement to the traditional chemical industry.
Q: What are the current technological bottlenecks in the bio-based raw materials industry?
A: Whether it's bio-based materials, chemicals, functional chemicals or in terms of biosynthetic (bio-chemical) processes, it's not just biosynthetic chemical processes, but also called a traditional natural biological process. It is a system problem, which needs to be considered from the whole system, including the core technical bottleneck, from the perspective of natural circulation separation, due to the characteristics of its biosynthetic system, I think the separation is the biggest technical bottleneck in biochemistry.
Q: What are the representative solutions of DODGEN on the process?
A: " Let's take biobased succinic acid for example, the amount of succinic acid produced in the fermentation broth is only a few percent, which is of quite low concentration. Meanwhile the composition is more complex, it dissolved in the fermentation broth, the boiling point of succinate is high,and it’s extremely heat sensitive, heating easy to form anhydride and separation is difficult.
The treatment scheme of DODGEN is to esterify the fermentation broth to produce dimethyl succinate, and then distill/distillation dimethyl succinate from the reaction solution to obtain the preliminary concentrated dimethyl succinate.
And by (further) coupling crystallization, we got the dimethyl succinate, and the purity of it was more than 99.5%. Dimethyl succinate can be further hydrogenated to form BDO, or directly react with BDO to obtain biodegradable materials PBS, which is also a hot spot of biodegradable materials in the future."
DODGEN is based on the existing high-added value products to optimize development, as the main line we continue to develop and produce green chemicals needed for social development, use renewable biological resources, upgrade green chemical technology, and develop green and environmentally friendly products so as to promote social carbon peak and carbon neutrality.
DODGEN expects to cooperate with more bio-chemical enterprises, based on refined low-carbon separation technologies and innovations in synthetic biological materials,we are entering in a new era of comprehensive development of the biochemical industry.