Ludwigshafen, Germany - BASF plans to start making 1,4-butanediol based on renewable sugars using Genomatica biotechnology.
The one-step fermentation process is based on sugars as a renewable feedstock and BASF is also working with Tate and Lyle.
Neither BASF or Genomatica would disclose financial details of the agreement but it is a straight production license with time limited US exclusive production rights assigned to BASF. BASF however does not have exclusive marketing rights to the product
The license allows BASF to build a world-scale production facility using the Genomatica process. It also permits, Genomatica to advance its renewable BDO production process technology.
BASF did not specify where the new plant would be built, or if external contractors will be appointed. Trial quantities are scheduled to be available in the second half of 2013.
"We chose the Genomatica process because we consider it to be exceptionally advanced and reliable," said Sanjeev Gandhi, President of BASF Intermediates.
The starting materials for the production of conventional BDO are natural gas, butane, butadiene and propylene. BASF currently produces BDO and BDO-equivalents at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Geismar, Louisiana; Chiba, Japan; Kuantan, Malaysia; and Caojing, China, and has an annual capacity of 535,000 tonnes. BASF has recently announced the intention of building a BDO complex in China with a capacity of 100,000 annual tonnes.