Germany-based Evonik Industries signed an agreement with US
renewable company BioAmber to develop and manufacture catalysts
for the production of BDO (1,4- butanediol), THF
(tetrahydrofuran) and GBL (gamma - butyrolactone) from
bio-based succinic acid.
BDO, THF and GBL are large-volume industrial chemicals used
in a range of applications including polymers, paints,
adhesives and solvents.
The global market for these products currently made from petrochemicals is $4 billion.
BioAmber manufactures bio-succinic acid from renewable feedstock. The company licensed BDO
hydrogenation catalyst technology from DuPont in 2010,
which has been further developed with partners Evonik and the
Center for Applied Catalysis at Seton Hall University to
improve the technology.
In parallel, BioAmber and Evonik have started to develop a
new generation of BDO catalysts, the companies said.
BioAmber operates the world's only dedicated production plant
for bio-succinic acid in Pomacle, France, with a 350,000 liter
The company, together with Mitsui & Co., has broken
ground in Sarnia, Canada on a 17,000 tpy bio-succinic acid
plant that will be operational in late 2013, with plans to
expand capacity to 34,000 tpy of succinic acid, and a 23,000
tpy BDO plant in late 2014.
BioAmber also has plans to build additional succinic acid
and BDO plants with Mitsui & Co.
"Through our collaboration with Evonik, we have secured the
expertise and capabilities we need to rapidly bring competitive
BDO and THF technology to market," said
Jean-Francois Huc, BioAmber CEO.
"We are fortunate to have a partner of Evonik's caliber who
can both optimize and manufacture our immediate catalyst needs
and also develop with us a new generation of catalysts," Huc
Evonik develops catalysts for a wide spectrum of reactions
and processes in industrial chemicals and petrochemicals, and in the life
sciences and fine chemicals segments.
"Chemicals from renewable feedstock for our daily life
products become increasingly important as replacements for
crude oil-based products", said Dr. Wilfried Eul, head of
Evonik's catalysts business line.