Pomacle, France - Bioamber SAS, a joint venture between US-based DNP Green Technology and France-based ARD (Agro-industrie Recherches et Développements), has successfully started-up and commissioned what it claims is the world's plant to make bio-based succinic acid in Pomacle, France.
The company aims to sell the product, but also to licence the technology for making succinic acid and derivatives to third parties, Bioamber's 20 Jan announcement said.
Since December 2009, the plant has been producing renewable succinic acid from glucose derived from wheat, Bioamber said.
According to the company, the industrial-scale plant was finished on time and within budget, and has an initial annual capacity of 2 kilotonnes.
Bioamber note that its renewable succinic acid "offers higher purity than petroleum-derived succinic acid," and has the added benefit of consuming carbon dioxide in the production process. The latter gives it "a distinct advantage," over the traditional petrochemical route, the statement added.
The company plans to start selling the succinic acid immediately to a variety of customers and said it will "build market demand as it negotiates the sale of licenses for large-scale succinic acid plants.
"Since 2007, we have sampled [product to] over 50 companies in a number of applications including plastics, polyurethanes, polyesters, plasticisers, solvents and de-icers," said Patrick Piot, general manager of Bioamber. "This production plant is a major milestone in our development. Renewable succinic acid is no longer an R&D programme; it is a commercial reality for the chemical industry."
ARD also announced at the end of 2008 that it would additionally build a plant to make butanediol and other derivates from bio-based succinic acid, after gaining the permit to build a commercial plant to make succinic acid from feedstocks such as cereals or sugar, at the bio-refinery of Pomacle-Bazancourt, near Reims, France.
Bioamber shareholder DNP Green Technology said in May 2009 that it had reached an agreement with the National Research Council of Canada Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) to develop a second-generation technology to produce bio-based succinic acid.
ARD is the R&D centre of a large agro-industrial consortium in Champagne-Ardenne, France, which aims to add value to and find new outlets for agricultural crops. It develops innovative and competitive bio-based molecules produced in bio-refineries, using its 25 years of experience in biomass fractionation, bio-based chemistry, and industrial biotechnology. ARD and its affiliates employ over 130 people.
DNP Green Technology, based in Princeton, New Jersey, produces renewable chemicals and has a lot of know-how about production and use of succinic acid and its derivatives. It is also actively developing other bio-based chemical platforms to make bio-based materials.