Heerlen, the Netherlands - Royal DSM and French starch-derivatives company Roquette Freres are to build a commercial-scale plant to make bio-based succinic acid, DSM said in a 9 May announcement.
DSM, a life and material sciences company, said that the plant, with a capacity of about 10 kilotonnes per annum, will be Europe's largest bio-based succinic acid facility.
The plant is due to come on stream in Q2 2012 and will be built on Roquette's site in Cassano Spinola, Italy.
Succinic acid is a building block used in the manufacture of polymers, resins, food and pharmaceuticals. Bio-based succinic acid is an alternative to petroleum-derived chemical building blocks such as adipic acid and 1.4-butanediol, DSM said in the statement.
DSM said that as a result of price competitiveness and its renewable nature, bio-based succinic acid is addressing a larger market than fossil-feedstock-based succinic acid.
The move toward a commercial plant follows a demonstration plant that the two companies opened in Lestrem, France, in early 2010. DSM said a larger facility would be built if the market develops well.
"The time is right to capitalise on the tremendous progress we have made together with Roquette in the last two years," said Rob van Leen, chief innovation officer of DSM, in a company statement.
He added, "Our proprietary yeast-based fermentation process not only allows cost-effective production; it also eliminates salt waste and other by-products and thus improves the overall eco-footprint of end-products."