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First bio-BDO commercial plant opens

The world’s first sugar-based 1,4 butanediol plant has finally opened as Mater-Biotech, a 100% company owned by Italian bioplastic producer, Novamont, started its 30 ktpa bio-BDO plant in Bottrighe di Adria (Rovigo, Italy), which uses Genomatica’s process technology.

The initial capacity of the plant was targeted at 18 ktpa, but this was expanded to 30 ktpa reportedly due to higher anticipated demand for renewables, continually-improving process performance, and competitive economics.  The plant is now up and running and is expected to reach full production rate in 2017.

Novamont will mostly use the bio-BDO for its fourth-generation of Mater-Bi resins, which is used to make biodegradable, compostable products such as fruit and vegetables, mulch film and coffee capsules. Novamont estimated 56% of greenhouse gas emissions reductions compared to the use of conventional BDO.

BASF also has a licensing deal with Genomatica for its bio-BDO process, with the potential to build up to 75 ktpa commercial plants that can be based on dextrose or sucrose for feedstock. BASF’s license agreement with Genomatica includes production of bio-BDO in North America and certain countries in Southeast Asia.

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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