Global Bioenergies from France is building a proto-plant for Isobutene production in Germany, with partnerships with car manufacturer Audi. Now their plant will receive a 5,000 Litre fermentation tank, after overcoming the challenging process of scaling-up second generation biofuel production.
Global Bioenergies’ return to first generation biofuel production has already been discussed as a bit of a step backwards, both regarding emissions and profitability. On the other hand, their approach to second-generation isobutene production (using non-edible sources of biomass – e.g. wood chips, sugar cane bagasse, straw etc.) turned out to be hugely popular, earning a €1.4M investment back in June from Bpifrance and a partnership with the car manufacturer Audi. As a public company, their market cap is currently maintained at above €100M.
This success is almost certainly due to the value of Isobutene to the petrochemical and synthetic material industry, which is worth around $25Bn per year…but I suppose recycling makes the conscience feel good too.