BASF, Purac to form bio-succinic JV

German chemical company BASF and Dutch starch derivatives manufacturer Purac (a subsidiary of CSM) finally laid out their business plans for their bio-succinic acid collaboration and announced today that they are aiming to be the first commercial bio-succinic acid producer in the market with a 25,000 tons/year capacity that will be located in Purac’s site near Barcelona, Spain.

The companies have been collaborating on bio-based succinic acid since 2009 using the microorganism Basfia succiniciproducens, which they said is a natural producer of succinic acid and can process a wide variety of C3, C5 and C6 renewable feedstocks, including biomass sources.

BASF and Purac are currently negotiating on the formation of a joint venture to compete with other bio-succinic acid players such as Myriant (which just filed its IPO), BioAmber (which just formed a supply collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemical), and DSM (which formed a bio-succinic acid JV called Reverdia with French starch chem company Roquette last year).

BASF and Purac intends to start its bio-succinic acid plant by 2013 at the latest. The companies are also planning a world-scale plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons/year although no timeline has yet been announced for this project.

Here are several current production activities on bio-succinic acid commercialization:

  • DSM and Roquette to open commercial scale 10,000 tonnes/year bio-based succinic acid plant in 2012 in Cassano Spinola, Italy. Reverdia is currently producing 300 tonnes/year of bio-succinic acid at a demonstration plant in France.
  • Myriant is currently building its 30m lb/year (13,612 tonnes/year) bio-succinic acid plant in Louisiana, US. The plant is expected to start in the first quarter of 2013. Myriant also plans to expand production to 170m lbs/year by the end of first quarter of 2014 as well as in the early stages of planning other production facilities in Germany and Asia.
  • BioAmber is finalizing its plans for a 20,000 tonne/year plant in North America and expects to start building this year and commission the facility in the first half of 2013. The company has a 2,000 tonne/year bio-succinic acid demonstration plant in Pomacle, France.

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