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June 25, 2013

First world-scale production of bio-based polybutylene terephthalate

Gerald Ondrey

Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany; www.lanxess.com) and Genomatica (San Diego, Calif.; www.genomatica.com) announce that Lanxess has run a production campaign of bio-based polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in Lanxess’ world-scale production plant using 20 metric tons (m.t.) of bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s commercially-proven process. This BDO fully complied with the demanding Lanxess specifications for petro-based BDO allowing a direct feed of 100% bio-based BDO into the continuous production process.

The properties and the quality of the resulting bio-based PBT are fully equivalent to conventional petro-based PBT with regard to all tested parameters. The world-scale PBT plant, with a capacity of 80,000 m.t./yr, is located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, and operated as a joint venture in which Lanxess has a share of 50%.

Genomatica’s BDO process technology converts sugars — a renewable feedstock — into the major chemical BDO in a patented, “direct” fermentation process.

“We were excited to validate the bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s process as a one-to-one replacement for petro-based BDO for the production of our PBT,” says Hartwig Meier, head of Global Product and Application Development of the High Performance Materials Business Unit of Lanxess. “This is a strong signal to the market and a tremendous step forward in our future plans to offer our high-tech plastic Pocan in a bio-based version, too. Due to its unchanged properties Pocan compounds based on bio-based PBT can directly be used in established application fields such as automotive or electro & electronics area. This fits very well with our strategy of ‘Green Mobility’.”

“Lanxess’ achievement proves how quickly bio-based monomers can be integrated into world-scale polymer production plants when you deliver the exact same performance for an existing, high-volume chemical,” says Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “This is additional proof that we got the details right.”

 

 

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