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From renewable feedstock to butadiene - The next stage of Synthos and Global Bioenergies pa

From renewable feedstock to butadiene - The next stage of Synthos and Global Bioenergies partnership

Publish date: 2013-01-11

In July 2011 Synthos, a Polish chemical company, one of the biggest manufacturers of rubber in Europe, and Global Bioenergies, a French company developing the sustainable way of olefins production, signed an agreement. Encouraged by the success of bio-sourced isobutene, Synthos entered a strategic partnership concerning the development of renewable materials conversion to obtain butadiene. According to the contract, Global Bioenergies were responsible for R&D phase at the laboratory level and, in the second step, Synthos was to implement the outcomes into an industrialisation stage.

Tags: biotechnology , poland , europe

In December 2012, the discovery of a biological route to butadiene was finally announced by Global Bioenergies which was followed by the milestone payment amounting to 1.5 million euros from the Polish company. As a result, Synthos will pay royalties on bio-produced butadiene utilised to manufacture rubbers.

 

The breakthrough method of the bio-sourced butadiene production developed by Global Bioenergies lies in the creation of artificial metabolic pathways comprising enzymatic activities unknown in nature yielding sought metabolic intermediates. Thus, the existing enzymes are modified to catalyze appropriate reactions of artificial metabolic pathway and, subsequently, they are integrated into a bacterium which then is able to synthesise the needed molecules on its own. Since 10 million tons of butadiene are produced yearly from oil, the new method of its production using renewable sources gives a significant competitive advantage since its cost would be independent of oil prices.  

 

The innovative technology of butadiene bio-production enters now the development phase, which is connected with the next Synthos' project. On November 26th 2012 the company signed an agreement with the Polish Ministry of Economy for funding the R&D Centre for New Technologies, which is to be built in Oświęcim (Poland). The planned opening time of the centre is Semptember 2013. The main objective of the project is to build laboratories with cutting-edge equipment and develop new types of synthetic rubbers which would help tire manufacturers to reduce rolling resistance and increase surface tension in their products, which would result in lower fuel consumption and higher safety. In addition, the technology of butadiene production will be developed there and, as the result of the project, graduates from the region will have the chance to pursue their scientific careers.

 

By Jakub Chrustowicz

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