Bioresource technology

Process model and economic analysis of itaconic acid production from dimethyl succinate and formaldehyde.

PMID 16171691


A complete process model and economic analysis has been developed for itaconic acid production via catalytic condensation of dimethyl succinate and formaldehyde. The process model is based on experimental yields and selectivities obtained for the condensation reaction and on recovery schemes for itaconic acid developed in our laboratory. For an 18 million kg/yr (40 million lb/yr) itaconic acid production facility with a 10-year lifetime, the model predicts a capital investment of $40 million and an itaconic acid selling price of $2.34/kg ($1.06/lb) to achieve 30% annual return on investment. Feedstock cost is the largest contributor to the price of itaconic acid; succinate conversion and selectivity to the intermediate citraconic acid therefore most strongly influence process economics. Results of these analyses indicate that itaconic acid can be produced catalytically from succinic acid and formaldehyde at lower cost than via the current fungal fermentation route.

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