With an industry worth €3.5Bn, butanediol is an important chemical intermediate. Novamont has recently opened the first industrial plant to produce bio-butanediol from sugars, using engineered E. coli.
Biotechnology is a key driver in replacing fossil fuels with renewable raw materials, so companies and academia are busy creating ways to produce different chemicals from biomass. Examples include Imperial’s and Turku’s collaboration for biopropane and Global Bioenergies’ isobutene, which landed a major deal with Audi as a fuel additive.
Bio-based 1,4-butanediol is now making its industrial debut in Rovigo, Italy, as Novamont opens its new Mater-Biotech plant. This chemical is used in many applications, including a number of solvents and plastics. As such, it has a market of around €3.5Bn per year – and it’s expected to grow to over €6.5Bn by 2020, with a production of 2.7M tonnes. This new plant can contribute to this growth with 30k tonnes of its greener alternative.
Instead of being derived from butane obtained in an oil refinery,