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Renewable Unsaturated Polyesters and Resins

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

The market for unsaturated polyesters, or UPEs, is projected to reach an excess of 10 Billion USD in 2020. UPE resins are versatile materials used in various industries due to their role in forming durable, light weight structures when cross-linked with monomers. Cross-linking monomers with unsaturated polyesters creates structures called fiber reinforced plastics, or FRPs. The current composite materials used in the production of FRPs possess limited recyclability and negatively impact the environment.

The current reports of producing UPE with renewable resources focus on utilizing itaconic acid to form unsaturated double bonds or using partially hydrogenated muconic acid to form unsaturated single bonds and are used to create polyamides.


NREL researchers have developed molecularly tunable UPEs through the use of bio-derived muconic acid. Bio-derived muconic acid is a value-added renewable monomer that is useful in the production of cross-linkable resins. This bio-derived muconic acid is also useful in the synthesis of linear biopolymers to use as UPEs. Using bio-based materials allows for the UPE to be molecularly tunable and alter its' thermal properties of glass transition, degradation, and melting temperatures. Molecularly tunable UPEs are desirable and advantageous because of their durability and rigidness, their ability to generate economic savings, and their ability to lessen the impact on the environment.

  • Bio-renewable
  • Provides strength, thermal resistance, durability, and ductility
  • Light-weight
  • Molecularly tunable thermal properties
  • Versatile
Applications and Industries
  • Alternative for traditional UPEs
  • Transportation Industry
  • Construction Industry
  • Aerospace Industry
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20170306085
An aspect of the present disclosure is a bioderived polymer that includes a first repeat unit that includes ##STR00001## where n is an integer between 1 and 1000, and R.sup.1 is a first hydrocarbon group.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory 04/25/2017
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ROI 16-54DevelopmentAvailable06/24/201606/24/2016

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To: Eric Payne<>