The Iowa Corn Growers Association led a pre-seed financing round to support Låkril Technologies with a $500,000 venture capital investment to replace petroleum adhesives and super absorbents with home-grown, corn-based alternatives. The Kentucky Corn Promotion Council joined with an additional $100,000 investment.
Låkril’s underlying, proprietary technology was developed at the University of Minnesota and allows for breakthrough acrylic acid yields of greater than 90% from plant-based lactic acid. Låkril has broken through the yield barrier on its way to delivering a plant-based alternative for existing products, at cost parity with petroleum key ingredients. Acrylic acid, which has a global production of over 15 billion lbs. per year from petroleum equivalent to about 800 million bushels of corn, is used in a diverse array of consumer products like diapers, paints and adhesives.
“Iowa Corn is dedicated to finding new uses and markets for corn to meet our mission for long-term Iowa corn farmer profitability,” says Denny Friest, Farmer and President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “Corn farmers effectively produce corn in a sustainable way, and plant-based products, like acrylic acid, provide consumers with the green materials they are looking for while creating demand for home-grown products from rural America.”
The Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Kentucky Corn Growers Association were joined by grants from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Corn Marketing Council of Michigan, and the National Corn Growers Association. This investor coalition represents corn farmers in the fight to replace petroleum-based materials and products with bio-based products in our everyday lives.
“This technology will provide a significant increase in demand for corn which is why we are proud to be a part of the project,” said Ray Allan Mackey, Kentucky Corn. “We work hard to continuously create new markets and technology like this can only push us forward in developing advanced uses of corn.”
“The Indiana Corn Marketing Council’s Board of Directors has designated development of new uses for corn as a strategic focus area. With that focus, the board is fostering development of new technologies that utilize corn as a feedstock for renewable chemicals due to the growing concerns around petroleum-based products,” said Corey Crafton, Value Creation Research Manager. “Låkril’s technology has the potential to allow sustainable production of acrylics, which is of great interest to the State of Indiana due to its in-state corn processing and paint plants.”
“The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan supports research that will develop and enhance market opportunities for Michigan corn farmers. Låkril Technologies’ process to develop sustainably produced bio-acrylics from corn-derived lactic acid and ethanol has the potential to create an exciting new market for corn that will increase demand and add value to our crop.”
In addition to previously announced non-dilutive grant funding from USDA, DOE, and CRI, Låkril’s total funding now exceeds $1,400,000. Earlier this summer, Låkril announced Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) awards from both the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the Department of Energy (DOE-EERE-AMO) as well as admission to the Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program at Argonne National Laboratory as part of Cohort 6. Låkril’s President Dr. Chris Nicholas was also recognized with the 2022 Award for Excellence in Applied Catalysis from the Southwest Catalysis Society.
“These projects allow us to develop key portions of our technology platform,” noted Låkril Technologies President Chris Nicholas. “We’re pleased with the progress scaling our breakthrough lactic-to-acrylic technology this summer, and appreciate the support from the corn growers, USDA, and DOE which have brought us to over $1,400,000 in pre-seed funding.”
Rachel Zumbach, Public Relations Manager, email@example.com, 515-225-9242