Minnesota’s natural resources industries produce a biomass waste stream that holds vast amounts of potential value. The paper mill industry alone leaves behind birch bark, sludge, soap fraction, black liquor, and other biomass. Other industry wastes include potato skins, plant molasses, saw dust, willow bush shreds and, from the ethanol industry, dried distiller grains and solubles (DDGS).
High scale biomass co-products, such as DDGS, are waiting to be processed into value-added products, including biofuel. Valuable natural chemicals within natural resources hold potential for medicines, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, plant protection and other uses.
Research in NRRI’s Chemical Extractives Laboratory is focused on developing these waste-stream products into value-added, market-ready products.
One such effort is the extraction of valuable chemicals from birch bark. NaturNorth LLC was launched as a direct outgrowth of research by the Chemical Extractives program. The company formed in 1999 as a partnership between the University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota Power and Potlatch Corp. to produce natural compounds from birch bark using patented technology developed at NRRI. The NaturNorth venture serves as a model for economic development potential with partnerships between the University and private industry.
Dr. Pavel A. Krasutsky, director of the Chemical Extractives Program, has experience in fundamental organic chemistry, specifically the chemistry of natural products.
Download a list of compounds, intermediates, and reagents that our laboratory can produce in a variety of quantities. For more information, click on any of the links above.
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