Ethyl Lactate is an environmentally benign solvent. Lactate esters have found industrial applications in specialty coatings, inks, cleaners and standard cleaning products. The solvent market is estimated at between 3.5 to 4.5 million tonnes per year, at prices ranging from US$ 2.00 to US$ 3.75 per kilo. Bio-solvents are progressively replacing petrochemical solvents and ethyl lactate serves as a biodegradable and non-toxic solvent which is sought after especially in the field of microelectronics and complies with the quality demands of the semiconductor industry.
EU Driving Bio-Solvent Adoption
The current market share of bio-solvents in the EU is about 1.5 %. EU legislation on reduction of volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions to the atmosphere is a driver for this adoption and could result in as much as a 40% share of the solvents market.
Significant Cost Reductions
There are three aspects to the Cellulac Process that allow us to achieve significant cost reductions and lower carbon emissions on the production of Ethyl Lactate.
- We use proprietary enzymes and patented bacteria to extract high yields of sugars from lignocellulosic materials
- Rather than process the downstream process in the usual manner we are able to transition directly from Sodium Lactate to Ethyl Lactate
- We engage CO2 recovery and use it as a reactive catalyst thereby reducing the carbon footprint of ethanol production (carbon credits)
Next Generation Kinetic Reaction Process
Through high heat in a catalytic reaction using CO2 (waste by-product of Ethanol production) under pressure we separate Lactic Acid from the Sodium Lactate and bind with Ethanol to form Ethyl Lactate with a by-product of Sodium Bicarbonate. This by-product may be dried and sold or recycled into the production process.
The result is Lactic Acid in a single reactive step at a much lower cost. It does not require high energy costs associated with reverse osmosis, electro dialysis (uni-polar + bi-polar), ion exchange processes or extensive vacuum evaporation costs that are normally associated with Lactic Acid production. The result is a reduction in the cost of production of Ethyl Lactate.