Ludwigshafen, Germany -- BASF and Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, are setting up a joint venture, Succinity GmbH, to make biobased succinic acid. The company, to be headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, will be operational in 2013, subject to filing with the relevant competition authorities, said a statement from BASF and CSM.
The companies have been researching succinic acid since 2009. They say their "complementary strengths in fermentation and downstream processing led to the development of a sustainable and highly efficient manufacturing process based on a proprietary microorganism."
This bacterium, Basfia succiniciproducens, produces succinic acid through natural processes and can metabolise a variety of renewable feedstocks into succinic acid. The process combines high efficiency with the use of renewable raw materials and fixation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).
According to the statement, this makes biobased succinic acid "an economically and ecologically attractive alternative to petrochemical raw materials."
Demand for succinic acid is anticipated to grow strongly in the years ahead, driven mainly by bioplastics, chemical intermediates, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticisers, the companies said.
BASF and CSM are modifying an existing fermentation facility at Purac's Montmélo site near Barcelona, Spain, to make succinic acid. This 10-kilotonnes-per-annum capacity plant will commence operation in late 2013, putting Succinity in "a leading position in the global marketplace," the companies claim.
Next the JV will build a 50 ktpa facility for succinic acid to meet rising demand. BASF and CSM said building this facility will depend on successful market introduction.
"Our strategy clearly focuses on innovations for a sustainable future. Chemistry-driven innovations are the responses to megatrends, such as the shift to renewable raw materials. The development of a succinic acid production process based on fermentation in cooperation with Purac is a good example of this strategy being put into practice," said Dr Andreas Kreimeyer, research executive director of BASF, in the statement.
"The succinic acid project is fully in line with our strategy to develop commercially attractive biobased alternatives using renewable and sustainable resources," added Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive officer of CSM.