Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”, Head Office: Tokyo, President & CEO; Masami Iijima) and industrial biotechnology company BioAmber Inc. (“BioAmber”, listed on NYSE) have decided the annual production capacity of their first bio-succinic acid plant (“Plant”) will be 30,000 tons. Construction is making good progress and the Plant, which will be the world’s largest scale, is expected to start-up commercial production in early 2015.
Mitsui and BioAmber have been working for the construction of the Plant in their jointly established company, BioAmber Sarnia Inc. (“BioAmber Sarnia”), to produce bio-succinic acid using yeast technology licensed exclusively to BioAmber by the American company Cargill, Inc. Pre-marketing activities confirmed that there are strong expectations toward and demand for bio-succinic acid in the global market, and the two companies therefore agreed to design annual production capacity at 30,000 tons (the Plant is capable of further expansion to 50,000 tons). Raw materials, including glucose derived from corn are stably available in the area where the Plant is being built. This factor, together with the use of the yeast process and the large production capacity, will significantly enhance BioAmber Sarnia’s cost competitiveness.
Mitsui is committed to foster and develop biochemical business, and is promoting the bio-succinic acid project as strategic investment. The Plant will produce sustainable bio-succinic acid by using fermentation technology to process biomass carbohydrate raw materials. Bio-succinic acid offers the market a unique functionality to enhance the quality of life, including eco-friendliness, safety and health benefits. There is a wide range of potential applications, including biodegradable plastics, polyurethanes and personal care products.
Together with BioAmber, Mitsui will continue its efforts to expand bio-succinic acid production facilities in anticipation of continuing market growth and will also consider the diversification of production to derivatives, such as 1,4-butanediol (BDO).
Mitsui is making contribution to build a sustainable society with a small environmental footprint through its focus on the green chemicals sector, including its efforts to drive the diversification of chemical raw materials to include biomass resources in addition to crude oil, natural gas and shale gas.