Global Bioenergies announces successful testing of its isobutene process at laboratory pilot scale and the beginning of the subsequent phase dedicated to industrial pilot testing. The beginning of this new phase in process industrialization is scheduled for July 2013 and will be supported by a €5.2M State financing via the Investissements d’Avenir program managed by the Commissariat Général à l’Investissement.
Global Bioenergies is developing a process that converts renewable resources (sugar, cereals, agricultural and forestry waste) into isobutene, a key building block of the petrochemical industry from which plastics, elastomers and fuels are derived. The company continues to improve performances of the process at small scale and has begun its industrialization mid-2012 by installing a 42 liter laboratory pilot. Successes obtained on this first pilot enable the launching of the next phase dedicated to industrial pilot testing.
This industrial pilot will be installed in the heart of the Bazancourt-Pomacle biorefinery, close to Reims, one of France’s main agro-industrial complexes. ARD, a specialist in the up-scaling of fermentation processes will contribute to its exploitation. This industrial pilot will be comprised of a 500 liter fermenter, which represents a yearly production capacity of 10 tons, and of a purification unit installed downstream of the fermenter which will allow the production of intermediate-purity isobutene batches. These will be transferred to Arkema for its own research. In the context of the collaborative project supported by the State, Arkema will develop a selective oxidation process adapted to the specifications of renewable products obtained by fermentation in collaboration with two CNRS laboratories, IRCELYON and UCCS.
The State will contribute €5.2M over three years to this industrialization program, of which €4M will go to Global Bioenergies (one third as subsidies and two thirds as repayable advance). This financing was obtained after an in-depth audit was conducted by the ADEME (the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management) supported by scientific experts.
Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies comments: “This industrial pilot phase begins in accordance with our schedule. It is a new era in Global Bioenergies’ history. The company has been and will continue to be moved by scientific innovation, but a second engine – that of industrial deployment – has been switched on.”
Jean-Luc Dubois, Scientific Director at Arkema declares: “Arkema has made the development of biosourced products one of its priorities. The production of an olefin through fermentation and its conversion into high value added products is in line with this approach.”
Philippe Aubry, Deputy Managing Director of ARD points out: “Welcoming Global Bioenergies’ process on our BioDémo platform, which comprises 100 liter to 200m3 fermenters, strengthens our position as the European leader in the field of fermentation process industrialization”.
Marc Delcourt concludes: “The success of this new phase in process industrialization will enable Global Bioenergies to grant multiple licenses along specific branches of the isobutene product tree. Further developments will allow the production of very high purity isobutene to cover all applications of this platform-molecule.”
About Global Bioenergies
Global Bioenergies is one of the few companies worldwide, and the only one in Europe, that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation. 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. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the yield of its process and prepares the phase dedicated to industrial pilot testing. The company recently replicated this success to propylene and butadiene and is also looking to continue with other members of the gaseous olefins family, key molecules at the heart of petrochemical industry.
Jean-Baptiste Barbaroux – Head of Corporate Development
Liliane BRONSTEIN – CFO
Phone: + 33 (0) 1 64 98 20 50
Global Bioenergies, press release, 2013-06-04.