New Renewable Polymers from Plant/Vegetable Oils

New Renewable Polymers from Plant/Vegetable Oils, ND Department of Commerce, Venture Grant


Project Summary

This proposal is based on preliminary results that demonstrated strong commercial promise for technology of Plant Oil-based Acrylic Monomers and Polymers Thereof which was recently developed at the Coatings and Polymeric Materials Department of North Dakota State University.

The goal of this research is to enable production of high value and high profit specialty polymers from bio-based materials.  Key to accomplishing this goal is to produce a variety of novel monomers from plant oils for free radical polymerization. These bio-based monomers are uniquely valuable in that a) they yield linear macromolecules during the polymerization process, and b) they retain reactive sites for post-polymerization cross-linking to generate new polymer materials with advanced properties that extend the performance of polymeric materials.  The combination of facilitating linear polymerization and retaining active sites for secondary reactions distinguishes the proposed bio-based monomers from all currently existing bio-based monomers.

Our proposal’s main goal is to determine the feasibility of using oil from oil-seed crops produced in the state of North Dakota (including other than soybean) for synthesis of high value and high profit bio-based specialty monomers for free radical polymerization. This represents the initial technical milestone required to assess the feasibility of commercializing this technology through a start-up company, therefore contributing to that key aim of the Phase I venture grant.  Specific aims include evaluating a broader range of plant oils (including sunflower, canola, corn, safflower, linseed oil) that will show us whether an extended library of novel bio-based monomers is possible, and if so, how well-suited they are for polymer latex formation and further applications for paints and coatings. We will also conduct market research and evaluate the competitive and strategic partnering landscape, with major goals being to understand customer needs and priorities that align with our technology capabilities, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of competing polymeric materials. Our goal will be to have a solid understanding of the potential products we could make through a start-up, the value and path to market of those products, and a strategy for initial company focus that will support fundraising and initial product development.


January,1,2016 – April, 1,2017, $99,989