With funding provided by BioMADE, the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Valerian Materials, the University of Minnesota, and Scientific Bioprocessing Inc. (SBI) have partnered to conduct research and development on new sustainable material solutions.
Launched in 2021, BioMADE is the newest Manufacturing Innovation Institute. By supporting the development of biomanufacturing technologies, BioMADE and its network of more than 150 members strengthen American competitiveness, create a more resilient supply chain, and help the United States become more self-sufficient. This project is one of many funded by BioMADE as part of its mission to secure America’s future through innovation, education, and collaboration in bioindustrial manufacturing.
“Projects like this are a perfect example of the research we do in the area of bioproducts,” said NCERC Executive Director John Caupert. “Creating value for our partners who develop new biotechnologies is what we do best and we look forward to being part of this next generation of bioproducts. We are excited about this new partnership and working with a dynamic group of researchers with similar missions in mind. This is our second BioMADE-funded project and we are extremely grateful for their continued generosity and support of NCERC.
Valerian Materials, an emerging company focused on the development of bio-derived, recyclable and sustainable polymers, will lead the partnership that will optimize and scale the production of beta-methylvalerolactone (BMVL), a bio-based molecule that can be converted into several different types of materials and of polymer products. Fermentation and downstream processing will be performed at NCERC, a globally recognized research institution dedicated to the commercialization of bio-based fuels and products. Scientific Bioprocessing Inc., a leading instrumentation company focused on connecting sensor technology to data analytics, will work in tandem with NCERC to provide equipment and expertise related to monitoring, analysis and control of fermentation.
Simultaneously, at the University of Minnesota, researchers from the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science will explore the incorporation of BMVL into advanced polymeric materials. They will not only work to define the range of properties and possible applications of these sustainable polymers, but will also study their environmental degradation and chemical recycling characteristics in order to develop viable and sustainable end-of-use solutions.
“We are excited to continue this research and development project with funding from BioMADE in partnership with leading organizations dedicated to bioindustrial manufacturing,” said Frank Bates, co-founder of Valerian Material. “Valerian Materials aims to be a leader in the production of next-generation biopolymers and BioMADE’s support is essential to realizing a vision of commercializing sustainable materials that are commercially competitive.”
“At SBI, we know the challenges of optimizing production-scale microbial fermentation processes,” commented John Moore, president of SBI’s parent company, Scientific Industries. “With our DOTS platform, we help bioprocess researchers to simplify their bioprocess. The combination of our state-of-the-art sensors and feed technologies are ideal tools for applications such as media optimization and the characterization and classification of genetically modified organisms. Startups like Valerian get actionable insights for their bioprocesses faster and at lower cost. We are excited to add the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center as a Center of Excellence providing testing and scaling services using the DOTS platform. »