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Help us discover a synthetic route to a naturally occurring chemical
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There is a projected shortage in the world supply of Octanoic Acid (CAS 124-07-2, also known as Caprylic Acid). This global shortage is being caused primarily by increased demand for jet engine lubricants and nutritional products for infant and elderly care.

Currently, the most common way of procuring this chemical for industrial/commercial purposes is via isolation from natural resources, usually from palm kernel oil or coconut oil.


Propose a synthetic route (method/process) that is reproducible, reliable, and established, for the preparation of Octanoic Acid which would be easily implemented in commercial manufacturing. Please include a description of your solution and include supporting literature that supports feasibility, as well as examples, if possible.

- Methods of preparation can include:

- Chemical Synthesis

- Biochemical Synthesis

- Enzymatic Bio Transformations

Special consideration will be given to ideas which are outside of a traditional product value chain.

Note: The different chemical reactions chosen to go from a small molecule to a larger molecule is the synthetic route. Starting from small molecules, and using reagents and catalysts, larger molecules are prepared in chemistry reactions.

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
Reward Tiers
3 Winners
will receive $300 each
3 Honorable Mentions
will receive $50 each
$300.00 T Johns Hopkins University
$300.00 Square pic 60 0 1 gmail
$300.00 M University of South Carolina
$50.00 K Purdue University
$50.00 Square pic 60 mindsumo profile pic crop 2 Brigham Young University
$50.00 T University of California at Davis
Submission questions

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