Genomatica, Novamont 1st BDO plant

The JV will convert the amino acid plant to bio-BDO production

So many news coming out today! We’ll start with this plant announcement from US bio-butanediol (BDO) developer Genomatica and Italian bioplastic company Novamont (although this news has already leaked out a couple of days ago).

 The companies announced last year its joint venture plans for commercially producing bio-BDO in Europe using Genomatica’s technology but today, they have disclosed more information about the JV. Novamont will have a majority of the equity in the JV and will finance the JV’s first commercial plant operation.


The JV will convert an existing amino acid facility in Adria, Italy, (owned by Bioitalia) which will have a capacity to produce 40m lbs/year bio-BDO starting 2013. Novamont said it has committed to purchase all of the bio-BDO from the plant for its internal use to meet increasing demand for biopolymers. Genomatica can buy a portion at its discretion for market development.

The companies could also (in the future) build and operate a second BDO plant, which will use biomass feedstock.

The last time the blog heard about Mater-Bi is that it is used in agricultural mulching, food packaging, plastic bags (in fact one of the restaurants near my work has the Mater-Bi plastic bag for take-outs), tableware, pens, and food packaging such as yogurt cups and tubs.

If the blog is not mistaken, BDO’s plastic application is usually seen in thermoplastics such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) polymers used in automotive, electrical and appliance industries, or polyesters such as polyurethane used in footwear, furniture, etc. But I have not yet heard Novamont’s Mater-Bi going into these applications (given that these usually take a lot of testing and product compliance).

The blog is not familiar with Novamont’s Mater-Bi biodegradable  (and compostable) plastic aside from the fact that the company uses corn starch and vegetable oils for feedstock, and so we have to find out how bio-BDO factors in to this bioplastic manufacture.

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