Global Bioenergies, a publicly-listed renewable chemical company at Euronext stock exchange, inaugurated this month its new bio-isobutene demonstration plant in Leuna (Germany). As far as I know, Global Bioenergies is the only company currently producing sugar-based isobutene, a chemical building block that can be converted into fuel, plastics, organic glass, elastomers, etc.
Gevo was once previously working with Lanxess to convert bio-isobutanol to isobutene but Global Bioenergies’ one-step process seems to be more economical. The advantage of gaseous isobutene over isobutanol is that it could be easily recovered from the fermenter with minimal separation energy input, and that the low aqueous solubility of isobutene minimizes product toxicity to the microorganisms.
Global Bioenergies started the 100 tpa demo production of bio-based isobutene last year in December. The Company initially focused its efforts on the production of isobutene, one of the most important petrochemical building blocks that can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. With the demo plant now ongoing, Global Bioenergies is now preparing its first full-scale plant through a joint venture with Cristal Union, named IBN-One.
Global Bioenergies has also been exploring the use of next-generation feedstock such as biomass and waste gases. We have been covering Global Bioenergies’ activities almost on a monthly basis at Tecnon OrbiChem’s Biomaterials newsletter.