Company initiatives, Partnership

BioAmber partners with JM Davy for bio-BDO/THF

Hello blog readers. It is a bit difficult adjusting from a back-to-back trips for two weeks but hopefully I’ll be able to post a summary of my tweets from the Plant Based Summit soon. In the meantime, here’s a recent news from BioAmber regarding its partnership with Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies (JM Davy).

BioAmber logoBioAmber has secured the right to license the JM Davy catalyst technology to enable them to operate a 100 ktpa BDO and 30 ktpa THF plant using bio-succinic acid for feedstock. BioAmber is also planning to use the BDO/THF production technology for two additional plants.

The JM Davy license is a major milestone for BioAmber’s next commercial plant and will help the company to accelerate deployment of its BDO/THF facility, which it plans to commission in 2018.   BioAmber has already signed a 15 year take-or-pay agreement with Vinmar International for 100% of the output from the plant’s 100,000 ton per year BDO and THF capacity.  BioAmber said it will leverage its low-cost bio-succinic acid technology and JM Davy’s proven catalyst technology to produce cost competitive bio-based BDO and THF.

JM Davy is reportedly the global leader in BDO and THF technology, with 14 licenses deployed representing approximately 800,000 tons per year of installed BDO and THF capacity, or 25% of worldwide capacity.  JM Davy’s technology currently uses maleic anhydride, a petrochemical derived from benzene or n-butane, as the feedstock for making BDO and THF.  The first step of the current process converts maleic to succinic before it is further converted to BDO and THF.

JM Davy has reportedly adjusted and optimized its process and fully tested BioAmber’s bio-succinic acid so it can substitute maleic anhydride without impacting performance, process economics or product quality. The BioAmber agreement is JM Davy’s first North American BDO/THF license, and its first plant to utilize bio-succinic acid.

JM Davy is providing a complete basic engineering package for converting bio-succinic acid to bio-BDO and bio-THF, along with certain pieces of equipment and the catalyst needed to operate the plant.  JM Davy will also provide on-site construction and commissioning support, and performance guarantees for the subsequent operation of the plant.  By licensing JM Davy’s proven BDO/THF technology, BioAmber eliminates the need to build and operate a demonstration plant, saving time and money.

Interesting enough, Myriant has also licensed JM Davy’s technology and it has been producing test quantities of bio-BDO and bio-THF at JM Davy’s facility at Teesside, England, using Myriant’s bio-succinic acid. Myriant has not made any announcements about bio-BDO investments since 2013. The global petro-BDO market, in general, is actually depressed these days as prices have been down due to lower crude oil and petrochemical prices, and the petro-BDO market is also described as oversupplied.

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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