UpdateUS OPXBIO achieves 55-70 cents/lb bioacrylic price goal

16 February 2011 06:34  [Source: ICIS news]

(Adds interview comments from company official)

SAN DIEGO (ICIS)--Colorado-based OPX Biotechnologies (OPXBIO) in the US has reached its goal of producing bio-based acrylic acid at a cost of 70 cents/lb ($1,543/tonne, €1,142/tonne) using corn sugar feedstock or 55 cents/lb using sugarcane feedstock after 18 months of pilot-scale development, a company official said late on Tuesday.

OPXBIO’s ultimate pricing goal is to produce bioacrylic at 50 cents/lb using corn sugar and less than 40 cents/lb using sugarcane.

Its current production cost of petroleum-based acrylic acid was estimated at around 75 cents/lb, said OPXBIO president and CEO Charles Eggert, in an interview with ICIS on the sidelines of the Infocast Biobased Chemicals Summit held in San Diego, California.

“Based on our current pilot performance, we can sell bioacrylic acid at $1-1.25/lb in the marketplace,” said Eggert.

US glacial acrylic acid prices for January were $1.30-1.35/lb, as assessed by ICIS. 

Eggert said the company’s pilot process was now able to achieve 79% production yield generating 70 grams/litre concentration in a 26-hour fermentation.

OPXBIO is moving to larger demonstration-scale processing which is expected to operate in late 2011 to early 2012 through a contract bioprocessing facility.

“We are looking at developing a strategic partnership for the demo facility. The partnership has the potential to also extend to the planned greenfield commercial-scale production in 2014,” said Eggert.

The demo facility is expected to be located in North America and will initially use sugars from corn. Its capacity was not disclosed.

The Biobased Chemicals conference ends on Thursday.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Doris de Guzman
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