CBiRC Partnership with Unilever Enables Molecule Screening Agreement for Biobased Chemicals

Achievement date: 

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), based at Iowa State University (ISU), has signed an agreement with Unilever to send a number of its novel biobased chemicals for application testing in Unilever’s high-throughput instrumentation facility. The partnership allows CBiRC researchers to screen molecules in applications of interest to Unilever’s business.


 By leveraging the high-throughput capabilities of Unilever’s testing facilities, sets of CBiRC’s chemical analogs can be evaluated to guide further research decisions in the development of novel biobased chemicals. The agreement helps CBiRC refine its systematic approach for identifying more promising and sustainable biobased chemicals. The partnership also builds a powerful bridge between the development and end use applications of the molecules and chemicals derived at CBiRC.


Since 2015, Unilever has demonstrated a commitment to greater chemical safety assurance in consumer products. In conjunction with the University of Liverpool, it established a high-throughput testing facility in the Materials Discovery Factory in Liverpool, U.K. This facility features high-throughput testing equipment for characterizing the performance properties of novel molecules. Within the facility, Unilever also has its own proprietary applications testing that will be used to screen novel biobased chemicals that have been synthesized by CBiRC researchers.

By partnering with Unilever, CBiRC gains the ability to better explore the efficacy of the novel biobased chemicals, such as triacetic acid lactone (TAL) derived compounds, it is synthesizing in its testbeds.