Global Bioenergies delivered the first batch of isobutene from renewable resources to its partner Arkema six months ahead of the projected schedule. Thanks to the cooperation of ARD’s, an affiliate of the French sugar producer Cristal Union, and Global Bioenergies’ teams, the scaling up of the process in the industrial pilot has been achieved in record time.
Since its launch in November 2014, Global Bioenergies’ industrial pilot, installed on the Pomacle-Bazancourt agro-industrial site near Reims in France, has been operated almost continuously with the support of ARD. The first tasks consisted in scaling up the fermentation results achieved in the laboratory, followed by the startup of the purification and packaging module to allow the production of purified isobutene.
The company’s first batches of isobutene from renewable resources has been packaged and shipped. The entire production chain has therefore been integrated for the first time: wheat starch-derived glucose has been converted into gaseous isobutene by single-step fermentation, which has in turn been purified and liquefied, before being packaged in pressurized cylinders dedicated to the transport of industrial gases.
One cylinder filled with liquefied isobutene was then shipped to Arkema’s production plant near Lyon. The project is part of the BioMA+, which is financed by the French State (“Investissements d’Avenir”, operated by the ADEME). The isobutene will be converted into methacrylic acid, a key component of acrylic paints, at a pilot unit operated by Arkema.
Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies concludes: “Being able to deliver isobutene batches to industrialists further strengthens Global Bioenergies position. The Company has passed a major turning-point in its development. Concomitantly, we observe a favorable evolution of key market indicators for the bioeconomy: decreasing sugar prices and a gradual recovery of oil prices. The barrel of Brent has already increased by about 50% to €58.3 from its low point of January. A new 50% increase would bring it back to €88.3”.