I recently had the opportunity to visit Sirrus Inc., a chemical start-up based in Loveland, Ohio. The company was founded as Bioformix in 2009, and was purchased by Nippon Shokubai two years ago. Sirrus has developed cost-advantaged processes to produce reactive monomers at high purities. The company’s patented technology focuses on methylene malonate monomers and oligomeric crosslinkers that can polymerize anionically at ambient temperatures, reducing the cost and environmental footprint of many existing application processes. Because of their versatility, methylene malonate monomers have shown potential in a wide variety of applications, such as one- and two-component clear coatings for automotive and industrial use, adhesives for packaging and industrial use, waterborne coatings and adhesives, pressure-sensitive adhesives, encapsulated pigments, and composite binders.
The Sirrus chemistry is new, however, there has been longstanding interest in the monomer platform – beginning with the Perkin route back in 1886 with yields in the 10-20% range, followed by Eastman Kodak in 1940, and the Diels Alder route invented by Laboratories UPSA in 1960. As the process technology evolved, the yield increased and the cost for manufacturing decreased, however there were still several key challenges. In 2011, Sirrus developed its oligomer route, which overcame several challenges, including the batch process, space yield, purity levels and co-products. The company then developed its diol route in 2013, further increasing yield, scalability robustness and process conditions, and currently sees yields in the 90%+ range. Today, Sirrus is evaluating bio-based feedstock, which takes advantage of the oxygen density of the monomer platform.