Succinic acid, C4 process, and acetonitrile

There have been some topics of my interest these days - I want to clip them here as my memo;

Bioamber to Build The World’s First Bio-Based Succinic Acid Plant in US

R&D on alternative feedstock is now "in" - In fact, there has been a timely critical review in "Green Chemistry" (from Royal Society of Chemistry) aiming how succinic acid could be transformed to chemicals we are dealing with;

Succinic acid from renewable resources as a C4 building-block chemical-a review of the catalytic possibilities in aqueous media
Clara Delhomme, Dirk Weuster-Botz and Fritz E. Kühn, Green Chem., 2009, 11, 13

The main topic is the list of the catalyst, mainly for hydrogenation of carboxylic acid group and for amination that gives corresponding alcohols and amines, respectively. I am just curious if "DNP Green Technology" is a subsidiary of DNP, DaiNipponPrinting.

They are focusing on succinic acid as it can be C4 feedstock. - From conventional feedstock (petroleum), MCC people has successfully developed brand-new-technology to obtain butadiene, as they have press-released;

Mitsubishi Chemical Develops Brand New Technology to Produce Butadiene

I have not studied the detail yet - this technology converts C4-raffinates, which has been mainly used as fuel, to butadiene. This process, using raffinates as chemical feedstock (not fuel), reminds me of alpha- and omega- processes developed by AsahiKasei - this process looks like FCC, as modified zeolite is used as the catalyst;

Commercial start-up of Omega Process facility

Not only among chemical industry but also among pharmaceutical industry, acetonitrile shortage is becoming an issue;


A Solvent Dries Up


Reading these blogs and comments, it seems that the shortage became visible in the US at first, then it expanded worldwide. Acetonitrile and HCN (!) is the byproduct of acrylonitrile production by ammoxidation;

CH2=CH-CH3 / CH3-CH2-CH3 + NH3 + O2 -> CH2=CH-CN (acrylonitrile), CH3CN (acetonitrile), HCN

Acrylonitrile is a feedstock for plastic/polymers, while CH3CN itself has its demands as solvent. (HCN is mainly consumed inside the plant (or inside the chemical complex) and it does not go to market as it is.)
These ammoxidation reactions are catalyzed by the different catalyst; propylene ammoxidation is catalyzed by the multicomponent mixed oxide catalyst (Mo and Bi is the "must" element - Mo-Bi-catalyst is sometimes called as "SOHIO catalyst, named after Standard Oil, Ohio - currently INEOS), while propane ammoxidation requires totally different catalyst, which has been commercialized only by AsahiKasei.

PTT Asahi Chemical to Build A New Acrylonitrile Plant in Thailand

Anyway, there is no doubt that INEOS has been hit by the economy slowdown (as the Big3 should be their major customer), then other companies worldwide has been also hit by the global depression that drags other motor companies including Toyota.

Can "CHANGE" help this situation?