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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
AkzoNobel, Photanol Developing Bio-Based Chemical Compounds Through Photosynthesis

AkzoNobel is on a roll: In the last two months, the paint, coatings and specialty chemical company has expanded its partnership with Solazyme for the joint development of Tailored™ algal oils, launched its new EvCote™ Water Barrier 3000 paper cup coating technology for the first fully compostable and recyclable paper cup, and last week was ranked number one in its sector by the DJSI for the third year in a row. Now the company has announced a collaboration with Dutch biochemical company Photanol to create bio-based chemical building blocks that mimic the way plants use photosynthesis, to eventually replace raw materials AkzoNobel currently obtains from fossil-based production.

"Given the challenges the world is facing in terms of resource scarcity, we are actively looking for bio-based alternatives for our chemicals and Photanol’s existing technology is a potential game-changer," explained Peter Nieuwenhuizen, AkzoNobel’s Director of Innovation and Partnerships. "We are constantly looking for less traditional solutions as we strive to do more with less, and this exciting partnership — which has the potential to significantly reduce our carbon footprint — is a perfect example of our Planet Possible approach to sustainability."

The collaboration is centered on Photanol’s existing proprietary technology, which uses light to directly convert CO2 from the air into predetermined raw materials such as acetic acid and butanol. The only by-product is oxygen.

"The cooperation with AkzoNobel is of major strategic importance to us,” said Photanol CEO Michiel Lensink. “Not only does it give us access to a large potential market, but AkzoNobel's processing technology expertise also means that we will shorten our time to market."

AkzoNobel's chemicals are used extensively by the chemicals, detergent, construction, food, pulp and paper and plastic industries. The two companies say they will start by developing a number of specific chemicals used by AkzoNobel's Specialty Chemicals Business Area. The partnership is intended to be a stepping stone for potential commercial production of fourth generation bio-based chemicals.

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