Invista, LanzaTech to jointly develop bio-butadiene

Global nylon producer INVISTA and biotechnology firm LanzaTech on Monday signed a joint development agreement focused on bio-based butadiene.

According to the deal, INVISTA and LanzaTech will collaborate on projects to develop one-step and two-step technologies to convert industrial waste gas carbon monoxide into butadiene, the companies said.

Initial commercialization is expected in 2016.

The collaboration will initially focus on the production of butadiene in a two-step process from LanzaTech CO-derived 2,3-butanediol (2,3 BDO), according to the companies.

A direct single-step process will also be developed to produce butadiene directly through a process of gas fermentation.

Additionally, INVISTA and LanzaTech will collaborate on the joint development of tools that will allow the extension of the technology for the direct production of other industrial chemicals, including nylon intermediates, from carbon monoxide containing waste gases, utilizing LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology and proprietary biochemical platform.

INVISTA says it is building internal biotechnical capability to develop biological routes to its products and feedstocks.

“As we seek innovative solutions to increase the global supply of butadiene, we believe developing a cost competitive biological route to butadiene will help assure ample supply and reduce price volatility,” said Bill Greenfield, executive vice president of INVISTA’s nylon intermediates business.

Butadiene is an intermediate chemical used in the production of synthetic rubber and various plastics. It is also a key chemical used by INVISTA in its proprietary, butadiene-based adiponitrile (ADN) production technologies. ADN is an intermediate chemical used in the manufacture of nylon 6,6.

“This collaboration is an important next step toward our vision of a diversified fuels and chemical portfolio,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.

“Joining forces with INVISTA’s world-class research team will enable us to accelerate the commercialization of a biological route to butadiene, further demonstrating that gas fermentation is an important route for the production of both fuels and chemicals.”

LanzaTech currently operates a 15,000 gal/year pilot facility at a steel mill in New Zealand, where it produces ethanol and 2,3 BDO from waste carbon monoxide gas.

In Shanghai, China, LanzaTech’s 100,000 gal/year demonstration facility uses waste gases from a Baosteel steel mill to produce ethanol.

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