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. A business partnership was formed with the University and private industry which has evolved into a start-up business in Two Harbors, Minnesota, called The Actives Factory. This business is marketing birch bark extractives to the cosmetics and pharaceuticals industries.
The 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.
Click here to learn more about the experienced lab staff.