Novomer is developing a low cost, environmentally friendly route to make acrylic acid and acrylate esters. Ethylene oxide, carbon monoxide, and Novomerís catalyst are combined together to form an intermediate called propiolactone. The propiolactone is then converted to either glacial acrylic acid or acrylate esters using proven technology developed in the 1970ís.
Acrylic acid is made today using propylene instead of ethylene oxide as the main feedstock. The propylene is reacted in the presence of oxygen at high temperatures and pressures in a complex reactor system that is very energy intensive. Novomerís route to acrylic acid will produce the same final chemical, but at a lower cost and with a lower environmental impact.