Chemical technology company Avantium has acquired the assets of Liquid Light, a developer of proprietary process technologies that make chemicals from carbon dioxide (CO2).

The acquisition will combine Avantium’s expertise in catalysis and process engineering, and Liquid Light’s expertise in electrochemistry, to develop new production technologies for converting CO2 to chemicals and materials.

“Electro-catalysis is an emerging technology in the chemical industry that is based on electrical energy and catalytic reactions to drive chemical reactions. The technology enables the use of renewable energy, for example from wind farms or solar panels, for the chemical industry, resulting in a significantly improved carbon footprint. The extensive patent portfolio of Liquid Light brings Avantium in the top of the world’s intellectual property position in electrochemistry,” said Avantium chief technology officer Gert-Jan Gruter.

Liquid Light’s patent portfolio includes filings on producing multiple chemical building blocks, including oxalic acid, glycol acid, ethylene glycol, propylene, isopropanol, methyl-methacrylate, and acetic acid for the production of polymers, coatings, and cosmetics.

The company was spun out of Princeton University in 2008, investing $35 million in low-energy electrochemistry technologies to convert CO2 into chemicals, and has filed more than 100 national patent applications, of which more than 20 were granted. The technology and patent portfolio of Liquid Light will be integrated into Avantium’s Renewable Chemistry business unit and its research and development programme in electrochemistry.

“This is an important step in our strategy to create and commercialise breakthrough technologies in renewable chemistry. It will extend our capabilities beyond catalytic conversion of biomass, and enable the development of a powerful technology platform on the basis of CO2 feedstock, meaning it turns waste into valuable products such as chemicals and plastics,” said Avantium chief executive Tom van Aken.