Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass to Chemical Products

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC


The global rise of oil prices in the past few years has resulted in parallel increases in the costs of practically every chemical and petroleum derived material: fuels, fine chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. New non-traditional and renewable feedstocks for these chemical processes need to be developed for both economic and environmental reasons. This project will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the thermochemical conversion of biomass to chemical products. The approach will build on previous work which demonstrated the highly-efficient conversion of inexpensive renewable lignin-based biomass to high value phenolic based chemicals. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new thermochemical process should be a general enabling technology to demonstrate the efficient conversion of biomass to useful high value products. Specifically, the prospect of biomass-produced phenolic materials has shown significant value to numerous markets including plastics, adhesives, and pharmaceutical industries. The phenol market alone is greater than 10 billion dollars. The broader benefits include a reduction in the U.S. dependence on non-renewable petroleum, and the production of materials that have a reduced environmental impact