M&G Signs Strategic Partnership with Genomatica for Sustainable Chemicals from Biomass

Best-in-class technologies, demonstration-scale production and commercial plant engineering for Bio-BDO

Genomatica, an emerging leader in sustainable chemicals, and M&G (Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi), the world’s largest producer of PET and a leader in chemical engineering and renewable processes through its Chemtex subsidiary, signed a broad strategic partnership.

The partnership includes:

  • Development of complete process for biomass to Bio-BDO: Genomatica and M&G’s Chemtex will develop a complete, proprietary process for the ‘second-generation’ manufacturing of Bio-BDO from biomass. This work will combine the Chemtex PROESA™technology for cellulosic biomass conversion to fermentable sugars with Genomatica’s Bio-BDO process. Genomatica will have exclusive rights to the use of PROESA™ for the production of Bio-BDO.
  • Demonstration-scale production of Bio-BDO from biomass: The PROESA™ process is in production at pilot scale at Chemtex’s R&D facility in Rivalta, Italy, and a 40,000 metric ton (88 million pound) per year cellulosic ethanol plant is being constructed in Crescentino, Italy with start-up planned for H1, 2012. Bio-BDO from biomass-derived sugars will be produced at demonstration scale at the Rivalta facility starting in 2012. This will follow production of Bio-BDO from conventional sugars at demonstration scale in the U.S. in 2011 through a partnership with Tate & Lyle.
  • Commercial plant engineering services by M&G’s Chemtex: Chemtex will be a preferred process engineering partner for the design and construction of Genomatica commercial bio-based chemical plants, for both first- and second-generation (biomass) feedstocks.

“Genomatica’s proven, direct, one-step production processes combined with our PROESA biomass technology will drive further improvements in bio-product competitiveness and faster worldwide adoption,” said Guido Ghisolfi, vice president of Corporate Operations and Research, Gruppo M&G. “The European market is particularly keen to move to bio-based products, and Genomatica’s strategy of greening the industry at its source offers today’s industry a painless and economically beneficial way to make it happen.”

Completes feedstock diversity ‘trifecta’ of sugars, biomass and syngas from waste
“Our agreement with M&G further expands the feedstock flexibility we intend to deliver for the chemical industry,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “Depending on the geography they serve, our chemical industry partners will be able to sell sustainably produced chemicals from their choice of conventional sugars and starches, cellulosic biomass or syngas – all while delivering superior profitability compared to petrochemical processes, the ability to deploy economical smaller-scale plants, and a smaller environmental footprint.”

About Genomatica
Genomatica is an emerging leader in sustainable chemicals: ‘greener’ intermediate and basic chemicals made from renewable feedstocks, rather than oil and gas. The company aims to transform the chemical industry through cost-advantaged, smaller-footprint products as direct replacements in a trillion-dollar market. Genomatica was named one of ’10 Big Green Ideas’ by Newsweek, and was featured on Forbes.com.

Genomatica is moving to demonstration-scale production of its first product, Bio-BDO, through a strategic partnership with Tate & Lyle. BDO, an intermediate chemical with a $4 billion market worldwide, is used to make spandex, automotive plastics, running shoes and more.

Genomatica’s integrated bio-process engineering platform and extensive intellectual property allow it to rapidly develop organisms and processes to produce dozens of the most significant intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks, like sugars, and later, from biomass and syngas.

Genomatica has raised $84 million from investors including Alloy Ventures, Bright Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mohr Davidow Ventures, TPG Biotech, VantagePoint Venture Partners and Waste Management.

About M&G
M&G is a privately held company in Italy owned by the Ghisolfi family and is one of the world’s largest producers of PET resin. Annual turnover of the Group is approximately US$3 billion. The Group owns production plants in Brazil, Italy, Mexico and the United States and supports three R&D units in Rivalta Scrivia (Italy), Sharon Centre (USA) and Poços de Caldas (Brazil).

About Chemtex
Chemtex is the global engineering and technology division within M&G. It specializes in delivering value-added project solutions for its clients in the bio-fuels, renewable chemicals, energy, environmental, petrochemical, polymers and fibers industries through its offices in Italy, the U.S., India and China.

Chemtex has developed break-through technology, the PROESA™ Process, to produce cost-effective and clean fermentable sugars from cellulosic biomass, which can be readily processed into higher value downstream products such as bio-chemicals and bio-fuels. Chemtex is currently building a 40,000 metric ton per yearcellulosic ethanol facility in Crescentino, Italy, to demonstrate PROESA™ technology at commercial scale. Construction has begun and plant startup is targeted for the first half of 2012.


Genomatica, press release, 2011-04-18.


Chemtex Group
Geno (formerly Genomatica, Inc.)
Mossi & Ghisolfi Group
Tate & Lyle


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