Company initiatives

World’s first bio-succinic acid plant

I can finally post this news which came out on December 13 about the start-up of the world’s first large-scale bio-succinic acid plant in Cassano Spinola, Italy, operated by Reverdia, the joint venture between DSM and Roquette Freres.

The facility, which uses a yeast-based fermentation process, has a 10,000 tonnes/year capacity producing a plant-based succinic acid marketed under the brand Biosuccinium™. If the blog remembers correctly, the facility initially use starch derivatives for feedstock and will switch to cellulosic biomass in the longer term.

Key applications for Biosuccinium™ include polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyester polyols for polyurethanes, coating and composite resins, phthalate-free plasticizers, and 1,4 butanediol. End products include footwear, packaging and paints.

The blog also recalls a recent press roundtable conversation with DSM about this biosuccinic acid project where according to the company, Reverdia is even now looking to invest in another plant with bigger capacity.

DSM said the bio-succinic acid output from the Italy plant will mostly for external use.

To cap off capacity updates on bio-succinic acid, three other companies are expected to start producing large-scale bio-succinic acid next year.

Myriant is expected to start its 13,600 tonnes/year (30m lb/year) facility in Louisiana, USA, in the first quarter of 2013. The company also plans to expand production to 170m lb/year by the end of the first quarter of 2014, as well as early stages of planning other production facilities in Germany and Asia.

BioAmber and its partner Mitsui, are building a 17,000 tonne/year bio-succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, that will be operational in late 2013. The facility is expected to expand to 34,000 tonne/year at full capacity in late 2014 along with a 23,000 tonne/year 1,4 butanediol (BDO) plant using bio-succinic acid as feedstock.

The partnership is also planning to build a 65,000 tonnes/year bio-succinic acid plant to be located in Thailand with an operational date of 2014.

Finally, Succinity, the joint venture between BASF and CSM is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes/year biobased succinic acid in Barcelona, Spain, with a start-operation in late 2013.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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