Mahdi Abu-Omar, president and founder of Spero Energy says the F&F industries face challenges to make their products in a more efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner, and this could be the answer.
"The chemicals used by the flavor and fragrance industry are some of the most expensive and high-value substances produced in today's market," says the man who is also Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, at Purdue University in Indiana.
"Currently those chemicals are made from petroleum. We have developed a method to convert wood lignin into valuable chemicals for both the flavor and fragrance industry at a lower."
Abu-Omar said the technology is a single-step catalytic process that converts lignin in wood into two products: dihydroeugenol, which is a valuable chemical used in the flavor and fragrance industry.
"Flavor and fragrance companies now have the option of producing dihydroeugenol, which has a spicy and sweet odor and flavor, from renewable rather than petroleum-based resources," he continues.
Spero Energy has received a six-month SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation worth $150,000 and a nine-month SBIR Phase I grant from the Department of Energy worth $149,882.
However, Abu-Omar says the company is still looking for further investments and joint ventures with a chemical company in order to further develop its products and scale up production.
The company has an exclusive option to license the technology through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.
Abu-Omar says the company has business plans for both the flavor and fragrance industry and the biofuel industry, plans to scale up its production, and looks to validate its products for the flavor and fragrance industry.