Initial Products of VariFAS
VariFAS’s technology can potentially be designed to produce various fatty acids and derivatives. However, based on our technical and business insight, we are initially producing ω-7 monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These fatty acids, containing a single double bond at ω-7 position (the 7th carbon from the ω end, opposite of the carboxylic carbon), are novel and not currently attainable in large quantity from any other sources. VariFAS has developed technology to convert sugar to ω-7 MUFAs using the designed microorganisms.
- VariFAS First Generation MUFAs (VF55): Our first generation product has been produced and analyzed. It contains 55%-60% ω-7 MUFAs and 40%-45% saturated fatty acids. Please contact us if you are interested in more detailed product specifications.
- VariFAS Second Generation MUFAs (under development): We are developing technology to deliver second generation product which will contain at least 75% MUFAs.
VariFAS’s MUFAs can be platform chemicals for the chemical industry
Because MUFAs are bi-functional molecules (i.e., contain a carbon-carbon double bond and a carboxylic acid group), many chemical reactions can be used to derivatize them, such as esterification, epoxidation, dimerization, hydroxylation, polymerization, metathesis, and so on. Therefore, MUFAs can be used as platform chemicals to synthesize many other valuable specialty chemicals which have applications in manufacturing products, such as lubricants, surfactans, and polymers.
VariFAS’s initial target market: Biolubricants
We anticipate that VariFAS’s MUFAs will have a wide range of applications. However, we will initially target the lubricants market, especially biolubricants. VariFAS’s MUFAs will provide superior feedstocks for manufacturing bio-based lubricants, addressing several problems of the existing petroleum- or vegetable oil-based lubricants solution.
Existing solutions and problems for lubricants
Lubricants are materials used to reduce the frictions between moving surfaces. They are extremely important for our modern society. Nowadays, most of the running machines need lubricants, such as automotive lubricants, aviation lubricants, hydraulic fluids, gear oil, turbine oil, and a lots more. Over 95% lubricants are derived from petroleum, having significant impact on the environment. Research indicates that around 50% of lubricants used worldwide end up in the environment. To decrease the environment impact, bio-based lubricants have attracted intensive attention. The demand for bio-based lubricants have been increasing. This is driven by the end consumers and also supported by the government regulations. Currently, vegetable oils and animal fats are the feedstocks for biolubricants. There are several problems with both petroleum feedstocks and vegetable oil feedstocks. For petroleum, first of all, it is not sustainable. Secondly, petrochemicals based formulations have been exhausted. Novel molecules are desired to manufacture next generation high-performance lubricants for more sophisticated machines. While the first problem for vegetable oil is that its supply as industrial feedstock is limited and costly. The second major problem is their poor oxidative stability which is caused by the existence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil.
Our solution: MUFAs-derived lubricants
To solve these problems, VariFAS developed technology to transfer biomass sugar to monounsaturated fatty acids and then provide these fatty acids to the lubricant industry as building block for manufacturing high-performance lubricants. Compared to petroleum feedstock, our products are sustainable and renewable. We use biomass-sugar as feedstock which is more abundant than vegetable oil and animal fat. Our MUFAs are currently unattainable from any other source and will offer new functionalities and building blocks for high performance lubricants. Our produces contain zero polyunsaturated fatty acids and thus have better oxidative stability. In addition, we will deliver a simpler mixtures of MUFAs which will generate fewer by-products in the following manufacturing process. MUFAs derived lubricants will be biodegradable and environment friendly.