Heerlen, the Netherlands -- Royal DSM NV and French starch and starch-derivatives company Roquette will have a bio-based succinic acid demonstration plant in Lestrem (France) in operation by the end of 2009. Pilot-scale production has proven that this biological route for producing succinic acid can be commercially viable, and the first tests by customers are underway, the two groups announced 9 March.
DSM and Roquette claim this is the first time succinic acid -- a chemical building block for making polymers, resins, food and pharmaceuticals -- will be made using biological means.
The technology produces succinic acid from starch using enzyme-based fermentation rather than the traditional ingredients of crude oil and natural gas. The Lestrem demonstration plant will enable the process to be refined further before it is scaled-up to full commercial industrial production in 2011/2012, said the announcement.
This new 'white biotechnology-based' route could result in up to 40 lower energy requirements compared to the traditional method, and have a positive impact on CO2 emissions, as carbon dioxide is used in the production process.
Successful industrial production of bio-succinic acid will help provide knowledge, economies of scale and open up new markets and applications for bio-based products in other fields, DSM and Roquette said.