AkzoNobel recently announced it has partnered with cleantech company Photanol to develop a process for harnessing the power of the sun to make chemicals. The companies will reportedly work on creating sustainable technology that mimics the way plants use photosynthesis. The aim is to produce “green” chemical building blocks that will eventually replace raw materials that AkzoNobel currently obtains from fossil-based production.
“Given the challenges the world is facing in terms of resource scarcity, we are actively looking for bio-based alternatives for our chemicals and Photanol’s existing technology is a potential game-changer,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, director of Innovation and Partnerships for AkzoNobel.
The collaboration is focused on Photanol’s existing proprietary technology, which uses light to directly convert CO2 from the air into predetermined raw materials such as acetic acid and butanol. The only byproduct is oxygen. The two companies will start by developing a number of specific chemicals that are currently used by AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business area. The partnership is intended to be a stepping stone for potential commercial production of fourth-generation bio-based chemicals.