IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and ResiCare, a Michelin Group entity, announce that they have co-developed a process for producing the molecule 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) from fructose, particularly used in the manufacture of bio-based resins. All the stages of industrial development have been completed, from tests on various scales to pre-FEED and FEED engineering studies for an industrial unit.

Following ten years of laboratory research on the conversion of fructose into a biosourced molecule, 5-HMF, IFPEN joined forces with ResiCare in 2021 to develop a process for producing 5-HMF on an industrial scale.

ResiCare develops and markets innovative adhesive resins by combining high performance, non-toxicity, and renewable materials. Initially developed for the tire industry, ResiCare technology is now being deployed in a range of industrial applications including wood, insulation, abrasives, and composites.

5-HMF is a particularly interesting platform molecule for the chemical industry, as it can be used to replace products of fossil origin with biobased products in a wide range of applications: adhesives and resins, plastic polymers, solvents and acids, amines and amides, fuels and fuel additives, pharmaceuticals, and food and feed. In all these areas, the use of this non-toxic molecule, produced from plant-based fructose, could significantly reduce the impact on the environment and health.

Pilot-scale trials have resulted in the production of 1.2 tons of 5-HMF. The first samples of 5-HMF produced by IFPEN have been validated by ResiCare in the manufacture of their resins. 

"We are delighted to have been able to work with our partner ResiCare to develop the 5-HMF production process, drawing on our expertise in homogeneous catalysis and in scaling up processes from the laboratory to the industrial unit," said Abdelhakim Koudil, Biomass to Chemistry Programme manager, IFPEN.

"Thanks to this partnership with IFPEN, ResiCare has confirmed the feasibility of biosourced, non-toxic chemistry on an industrial scale, paving the way for petroleum-free chemistry. This is a key step in scaling up our new adhesive technology. We believe that this is a promising movement, and we invite other industry players to join us," said Laurent Lemonnier, executive VP, ResiCare.

To learn more, visit www.ifpenergiesnouvelles.com and www.michelin.com.