BioAmber phases out E.coli use

The blog is just catching up with some of the earnings conference calls from last week. Here are some highlighted information from BioAmber. I am also checking out Codexis, Cereplast and Syntroleum if they have any interesting updates for the quarter.

An interesting information from BioAmber’s recent earnings call is the phasing out its use of E.coli and has now switched to using yeast, which it has exclusively licensed from Cargill. BioAmber said it has successfully operated its yeast and purification process at large scale in the Pomacle, France, demonstration plant.

BioAmber has now decided to solely use the yeast technology in its planned 30 ktpy bio-succinic acid facility in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, which is expected to be mechanically completed in the fourth quarter of 2014. BioAmber said it is in the process of selecting and contracting a construction partner and has begun site preparation work. The current performance of the yeast reportedly already exceeded Sarnia’s engineering design basis so the actual capacity at full production is expected to exceed the 30 ktpy nameplate capacity.

BioAmber said the Sarnia facility is designed to accommodate 15%-20% additional succinic acid production in their fermenter without any major bottlenecks.

The switch to yeast from E.coli is also expected to result in lower capital intensity, reduced sugar and energy consumption, better start-up and operability of the plant. One analyst at the conference call noted that the use of yeast instead of E.coli will basically reduce BioAmber’s variable costs by 30%.

BioAmber also noted that it continues to develop the yeast technology in terms of performance and that the company continues to see opportunity to significantly reduce further cost to their succinic acid over the next 3-5 years.

By the way, BioAmber is also using the Cargill yeast to produce adipic acid in addition to succinic acid. The company said it has reached a milestone for this development (which has triggered a $250,000 payment to Cargill) and BioAmber has now decided to expand its adipic acid development work in-house.

Other tidbits of information from the earnings call:

  • BioAmber sold over $1m of succinic acid in the quarter, reportedly the highest quarterly sales to date.
  • BioAmber has added nine new customers since the beginning of the year with succinic acid sales developing in polyurethane, polyester, food and flavor, personal care, coatings markets
  • BioAmber will extend its access to Pomacle, France, through the middle of 2014, during which time it is only guaranteed 60% of the capacity of this facility.
  • The company is actively recruiting additional staff in Sarnia to support construction, oversee the start-up and commissioning and the subsequent operation of the plant

You can also read the blog’s recent interview with BioAmber president Jean Francois Huc during the company’s visit at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

BioAmber currently produces it bio-succinic acid at a demo facility in Pomacle, France.

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.



  1. Pingback: E. coli, the green celebrity! | Green Chemie - October 6, 2013

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