The race for bio-BDO commercialization is on as BioAmber and Mitsui announced their collaboration to build both bio-succinic acid and bio-1,4 butanediol (BDO) plants – one in Sarnia, Canada, and the other in Rayong, Thailand. A third one is being planned either in North America or Brazil (I’m betting on Brazil…).
BioAmber and Mitsui have long been partners as Mitsui currently distributes BioAmber’s biosuccinic acid-derived products. The companies expanded their partnership today when Mitsui decided to go all the way in the bio-succinic acid/BDO business by jointly investing with BioAmber in the new manufacturing facilities.
BioAmber is currently constructing a 17,000 tonne/year biosuccinic acid plant in Sarnia, which is expected to start in 2013. The partners will subsequently expand the capacity to 35,000 tonnes/year as well as build a 23,000 tonnes/year BDO on the site using biosuccinic acid for feedstock.
For the Thailand plant, which is expected to come online in 2014, BioAmber initially stated on an earlier press release its plans to build a 65,000 tonne/year bio-succinic acid facility and 50,000 tonne/year bio-BDO. The blog is not sure if the planned capacity remains the same. BioAmber and Mitsui stated that they are currently undertaking a feasibility study for the Thailand plant with PTT MCC Biochem.
BioAmber has been chosen by PTT MCC to exclusively supply bio-succinic acid for their new 20,000 tonne/year polybutylene succinate (PBS) plant being constructed on the Rayong site, which is expected to start operating in 2014. I wonder if this new partnership means PTT MCC has also picked them for their bio-BDO supply? (FYI. The biodegradable PBS plastic uses succinic acid and BDO for feedstock)
For all three sites that the partners plan to build and operate, they expect to have a total cumulative capacity of 165,000 tonnes/year of succinic acid and 123,000 tonnes/year of BDO. BioAmber will be the majority shareholder in the plants.
Mitsui said it has secured renewable feedstock in Brazil, Thailand and other countries as part of its strategic focus on renewable chemicals. If readers recall, Mitsui has also recently partnered with Dow Chemical for the production of sugarcane-based polyethylene in Brazil.
For more updates on the Dow-Mitsui partnership, my colleague Anna Jagger wrote an article about renewable chemical investments updates in Brazil published this week on ICIS Chemical Business.
For more on Mitsui’s renewable chemicals strategies, I wrote an article also on ICIS Chemical Business about several Japanese chemical firms expanding their investments in renewable-based chemistries.
Both articles are free to read!