Innovation in bio-based polymers represents a major challenge for the development of more sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials. These plant-based polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including paints, adhesives and surfactants. ITERG innovates with new chemical derivatives derived from biomass, claiming high value-added functionalities.
The bioproducts sample library, and more specifically the estolide range, set up many years ago, continues to evolve in line with performance tests, societal expectations and regulatory changes. These custom-developed oligomers make it possible to modulate polymer specifications and properties, and thus adapt certain physico-chemical properties such as viscosity, functionality, molar mass, and so on. This approach makes it possible to meet the specific needs of manufacturers according to precise specifications, and thus to adapt to their problems in the best possible way.
First-generation" castor estolides have very interesting physico-chemical properties, similar to those of petroleum-based polymers such as polybutadiene, polyisopropene and polyisobutylene.
Functionalization of these estolides, such as isocyanate, acrylate and silane (Figure 1), has enabled us to broaden the range of products on offer, opening up new application sectors.
Currently, the most important market in terms of production volume is cosmetics (6 to 10 tons per year), which is why the 6 most promising molecules in the PRIC range have been registered with INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). What's more, because of their polymeric nature, these oligomers are not subject to REACH regulations, making them easier to market.
Our objectives are to increase our production volumes by opening up new markets outside cosmetics. These include lubricants, performance additives (e.g. water-repellent, impact-resistant) and plasticizers.
This growth phase is focused above all on the mature, well-established castor-oil-based PRIC range.
The transition to a new PEC range (based on rapeseed oil with high erucic acid content) is proceeding gradually, with an intense R&D phase for the time being, prior to the scaling-up of certain promising candidates.
At the same time, a family of estolides with an amphiphilic structure is the subject of a formulation study to assess its applicative potential in comparison with commercial surfactants.
Contact: Guillaume CHOLLET, Industrialization and Research & Development Manager