Poland’s Synthos expects bio-butadiene pilot production within 3 years

20 July 2011 17:47  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Synthos is confident its newly-formed strategic partnership with French industrial biology company Global Bioenergies will allow it to start pilot production of bio-butadiene within three years, the Polish synthetic rubber producer said on Wednesday.

The partnership should also allow production of bio-butadiene on an industrial scale of at least 50,000 tonnes/year within six years, said Synthos spokeswoman Agata Koscielnik.

The Synthos/Global Bioenergies project would explore ways of converting renewable resources into butadiene, a product which was once exclusively produced from oil, Synthos added.

Under the terms of the agreement, Synthos had to purchase a 3.6% stake in Global Bioenergies for €1.4m ($2.0m), provide the industrial biology enterprise with research funding, multi-million euro development fees, and make royalty payments on future sales of bio-butadiene to rubber manufacturers, Synthos added.

Global Bioenergies would retain the exclusive rights to the bio-butadiene for non-rubber applications, it said.

Global bioplastics production is forecast to more than double from 2010 to 2015, according to industry association European Bioplastics.

"We are very much looking forward to joining forces with Global Bioenergies, a company developing a unique approach based on synthetic biology,” said Tomasz Kalwat, chairman of Synthos.

“The development of an eco-friendly and inexpensive bio-butadiene process prepares Synthos for the next generation of rubber, and contributes to giving Synthos a competitive advantage in the mid- and long-term future."

"This butadiene program shares many similarities with our isobutene program, and we expect it will be as successful. The long-term commitments from Synthos and the fact that we retain the exclusive exploitation rights on a $10bn market has the potential to create an important value for our shareholders," said Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies.

Global Bioenergies would take care of research and process development at the laboratory level, and Synthos would subsequently take the process on to the industrialisation stage, according to the agreement.

Worldwide, about 10m tonnes of butadiene are produced each year, with the global butadiene market value estimated at $30bn, a joint press release from the two companies said.

Around two-thirds of produced butadiene is used to manufacture synthetic rubber, while the remaining third is used to produce nylon, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastics and other polymers, it added.

($1 = €0.71)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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