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JST Press Release

February 04, 2014
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
5-3, Yonbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8666

Successful development of a synthetic route for the production of the monomer used commodity plastics PET from the inedible cellulosic biomass.

Exploiting biomass as an alternative to petrochemicals for the production of commodity plastics is vitally important if we are to become a more sustainable society. Here, we report a synthetic route for the production of terephthalic acid (TPA), the monomer of the widely used thermoplastic polymer poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), from the biomass-derived starting material furfural. Biobased furfural was oxidised and dehydrated to give maleic anhydride, which was further reacted with biobased furan to give its Diels-Alder (DA) adduct. The dehydration of the DA adduct gave phthalic anhydride, which was converted via phthalic acid and dipotassium phthalate to TPA. The biobased carbon content of the TPA was measured by accelerator mass spectroscopy and the TPA was found to be made of 100% biobased carbon.

Researcher Information

Research Area “Creation of essential technologies to utilize carbon dioxide as a resource through the enhancement of plant productivity and the exploitation of plant products”
Research Theme “Constructin of monomer library for commodity plastics derived from furfural”

Journal Information

Yuya Tachibana, Saori Kimura & Ken-ichi Kasuya. “Synthesis and Verification of Biobased Terephthalic Acid from Furfural”. Scientific Reports, Published online 04 February, 2015, doi: 10.1038/srep08249.


[About Research]
Yuya Tachibana, Ph. D
Assistant professor, Division of Molecular Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Gunma University
URL: http://greenpolymer.chem-bio.st.gunma-u.ac.jp

[About Program]
Masashi Furukawa
Green Innovation Group, Department of Innovation Research, JST


JST, an integrated organization of science and technology in Japan, establishes an infrastructure for the entire process from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. For more information, visit http://www.jst.go.jp/EN/