US DNP Green aims to lower bio-succinic acid price by 25-35c/lb

15 September 2010 07:26  [Source: ICIS news]

BOSTON (ICIS)--US producer DNP Green Technology aims to lower its bio-based succinic acid cost by 25-35cents/lb ($550-770/tonne) incrementally within the next 4-5 years, a company official said late Tuesday.

"We have a second generation downstream process underway that we think is going to be ready in about six months that will take 10cents/lb off the costs for making succinic acid," said Jim Millis, DNP Green chief technology officer, who presented at the Biobased Chemicals East conference in Boston.

Bioamber, a joint venture between DNP Green and France-based ARD (Agro-industrie Recherches et Developpements), produces biosuccinic acid at its 2,000 tonnes/year plant in Pomacle, France.

Bio-based succinic acid is described as a renewable C4 building block for use in polymer chemistry, personal care and other applications.

The company had started with a second generation organism that would be ready in two-three years, and would drive another 8-15cents/lb off production costs, Millis said.

"Once cheap lignocellulosic feedstock is ready for use hopefully within 4-5 years, that will drive another 7-10cents/lb off our production costs using the same second generation organisms," he added.

Renewable succinic acid can be used to make butanediol (BDO), which, in turn, is an intermediate for polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG), tetrahydrofuran (THF) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), according to ICIS chemical intelligence.

DNP Green is currently producing modified polybutylene succinate (PBS) at Shanghai, China, through its recently acquired Chinese company Sinoven Biopolymer.

The PBS product has over 51% biobased content coming from biosuccinic acid, said Millis.

Applications for the bio-PBS include food-service coffee lids, cups, dishes, cutlery, disposable razors, writing instruments and cosmetic packaging.

DNP Green plans to start shipping the product in the fourth quarter this year.

"PBS is not a huge market, which is about 100,000-120,000 tonnes/year. However, this will be a quick route to revenue and will allow us to develop our supply chain faster," said Millis.

($1 = €0.77)

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