Genencor, Goodyear develop bio-isoprene

16 September 2008 16:56  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Genencor and Goodyear are developing a bio-based route to isoprene, Genencor parent Danisco, said on Tuesday.

The process could be used to cost-effectively replace petroleum-based rubber and styrene-based elastomers, the Danish sugar refiner said.

BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber for tyres and other elastomers and could make the tyre industry less dependent on oil-derived products.

Danisco said it would invest $50m (€35m) over the next three years to scale-up the process and make it more efficient. Using renewable feedstock such as sucrose and fermentation technology, the first commercial sales are expected in 2012.

Genencor said the bio-based material could feed into the 675,000 tonne/year isoprene market but also lead to the development of new uses for the synthetic rubber (SR). Currently, sufficient cost-effective supplies of isoprene monomer needed to produce SR were not available, it said.

The biological method for producing polymer-grade BioIsoprene is to be plugged into the traditional polymerisation process to produce synthetic rubber.

There is a 5m tonne/year potential market for the bio-based product if it replaced other styrene based synthetics, Danisco said.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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