Tate and Lyle to produce Genomatica’s bio-BDO

Genomatica announced today that food ingredient producer Tate & Lyle will produce its bio-1,4 butanediol (BDO) in Decatur, Illinois, starting third quarter this year.

Tate & Lyle seems to be profiting from being a toll manufacturer for green chemicals production, first with Amyris and now Genomatica.

Genomatica said it is ramping its fermentation process from 3,000 liter-fermentation tanks to 13,000-liter fermenters followed by an integrated downstream process for BDO recovery and purification. The company did not indicate how much BDO will be produced on the demo plant, which is co-located with a corn wet mill owned and operated by Tate & Lyle. Fermentations are expected to begin in the second quarter.

According to Genomatica, the bio-BDO produced will be used for large-volume sampling to BDO customers. Applications for the intermediate chemical include spandex (PTMEG), automotive plastics (PBT), running shoes, insulation (TPU) and other high value downstream derivatives.

As mentioned in another post before, I am actually planning on posting an article about the bio-BDO market so stay tune for that. Genomatica said it has already achieved a cost-competitive BDO product based on their pilot scale production. I guess the demo plant will be needed not only to produce sample but also to verify the cost-economics of the bio-BDO in a much larger scale. It’s first world-scale commercial plant is expected to be operational around late 2013.

Genomatica did not indicate how much is the base production costs of their bio-BDO but the company did note that their direct BDO production is more cost-effective unlike the bio-BDO route from succinic acid, which Genomatica said “could add at least 20 cts/lb (€0.36/kg) to the cost of the final product.”


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