Acetone is a good solvent for many plastics and some synthetic fibers. It is used for thinning polyester resin, cleaning tools used with it, and dissolving two-part epoxies and superglue before they harden. It is used as one of the volatile components of some paints and varnishes. As a heavy-duty degreaser, it is useful in the preparation of metal prior to painting. It is also useful for high reliability soldering applications to remove rosin flux after soldering is complete; this helps to prevent the Rusty bolt effect.
Acetone is used as a solvent by the pharmaceutical industry and as a denaturant in denatured alcohol. Acetone is also present as an excipient in some pharmaceutical drugs.
ABE (acetone, butanol, ethanol) fermentation has a great industrial past but has been outcompeted by the petrochemical industry. Due to new developments in biotechnology, there has been renewed interest in fermentative production of butanol, a platform chemical and alternative biofuel. To date, high substrate costs and low volumetric productivity remain significant bottlenecks that preclude large-scale application of ABE fermentation. By using our combined experience in biomass pretreatment, fermentation, separation technology and energy system design, we are developing new concepts for conversion of biomass. The ultimate goal is to design a new, efficient and economically viable bioprocess for the conversion of low-cost cellulosic feedstocks into products such as Acetone, Butanol and Ethanol.