Showa Denko picks Myriant for succinic

This news came out last week but I was waiting to tie this with my bio-succinic acid article that was just published today on ICIS Chemical Business.

According to Myriant’s press release, the company has been chosen by Japanese chemical firm Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) to be its global supplier of bio-succinic acid. SDK will use biosuccinic acid for the production of high-performance biodegradable polybutylene succinate (PBS), a key polymer used in the production of bioplastics.

SDK is a producer of PBS under the trademark Bionolle® and Starcla®, a key component used in the production of bioplastic products that include biodegradable mulch films and compostable bag applications.

I’ve mentioned the PBS market in my bio-succinic acid article, where PBS is currently produced by combining petroleum-based succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol (BDO). Of course, in SDK’s case, the succinic acid component will soon be replaced by Myriant’s product although I am not sure if SDK will also soon source a bio-based BDO to make it 100% renewable-based.

I’ve also mentioned that current petrochemical-derived PBS producers aside from SDK included Mitsubishi Chemical, Samsung Fine Chemical and a couple of companies in China, according to Mitsubishi Chemical. The PBS market is currently at 5,000-6,000 tonnes/year and is expected to grow to 50,000 tonnes/year in the next five years, Mitsubishi Chemical said.

BioAmber, who was picked by Mitsubishi Chemical to be its bio-succinic acid supplier, noted in its IPO filing that addressable market for PBS, PBS blends and PBS composites is around $2bn, while modified PBS is $500m.

Polybutylene succinate can also be combined with polymers such as polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and polycarbonate (PC) as well as bioplastics such as polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoate, and poly-3-hydroxy butyrateco-valerate. In composites, PBS can be combined with fibers or fillers for applications such as automotive interiors, nonwovens, construction materials and consumer goods.

Below is a map of current bio-succinic acid companies and their planned production capacity worldwide. Not included in the map is a 65,000 tonne/year capacity being planned by the BioAmber/Mitsui JV either in the US or Brazil. The BASF/Purac JV did not yet disclose location for its planned 50,000 tonne/year bio-succinic acid facility. I don’t have a clue why it showed up in the map …still trying to figure out this new Google application…

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