San Diego, California -- Genomatica and Tate & Lyle signed a joint development agreement 15 March 2011 for the demonstration-scale production of Genomatica's Bio-BDO (1,4-butanediol).
Genomatica' says its process produces the same BDO that is currently made from a variety of petroleum-derived feedstocks, but uses 100-percent renewable feedstocks instead.
BDO, an intermediate chemical with a $4000 million market worldwide, is used to make spandex polyurethane fibre, automotive plastics, running shoes, insulation (thermoplastic polyurethanes), and high-value downstream derivatives.
Under the agreement, Tate & Lyle will dedicate a demonstration-scale production facility in Decatur, Illinois, for exclusive use by Genomatica for the scale-up of the Bio-BDO process.
Genomatica said it is ramping its process to 13 000-litre fermenters followed by an integrated downstream process for BDO recovery and purification. The demonstration plant is co-located with a corn wet mill owned and operated by Tate & Lyle, providing ready access to a cost-effective, renewable feedstock.
The two parties said in a press statement that expansion and operation of the Tate & Lyle facility will create 25 jobs in Decatur. Engineering is already underway, and fermentations are expected to begin the second quarter of this year followed by integrated plant operations in the third quarter.
The BDO produced by the plant will be used for large-volume sampling to customers who want to serve market-leading brands and retailers with green, sustainably produced polymers and materials.