, Volume 75, Issue 4, pp 751-762,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Mar 2007

Biomass in the manufacture of industrial products—the use of proteins and amino acids

Abstract

The depletion in fossil feedstocks, increasing oil prices, and the ecological problems associated with CO2 emissions are forcing the development of alternative resources for energy, transport fuels, and chemicals: the replacement of fossil resources with CO2 neutral biomass. Allied with this, the conversion of crude oil products utilizes primary products (ethylene, etc.) and their conversion to either materials or (functional) chemicals with the aid of co-reagents such as ammonia and various process steps to introduce functionalities such as -NH2 into the simple structures of the primary products. Conversely, many products found in biomass often contain functionalities. Therefore, it is attractive to exploit this to bypass the use, and preparation of, co-reagents as well as eliminating various process steps by utilizing suitable biomass-based precursors for the production of chemicals. It is the aim of this mini-review to describe the scope of the possibilities to generate current functionalized chemical materials using amino acids from biomass instead of fossil resources, thereby taking advantage of the biomass structure in a more efficient way than solely utilizing biomass for the production of fuels or electricity.