BASF and Genomatica expand license agreement for bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO)


Kurt Bock, Ceo of BASF
Kurt Bock, Ceo of BASF

BASF and Genomatica have expanded the scope of their license agreement for the production of 1,4-butanediol based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO) using Genomatica’s patented process. The parties added certain countries in Southeast Asia to their initial agreement, which focused on North America.

The license agreement allows BASF to build a world-scale production facility that will use the Genomatica process to manufacture renewable BDO. BASF has secured rights to allow production of up to 75,000 tons per year. Under the terms of the agreement, Genomatica will continue to advance its patented GENO BDO™ process technology for the production of renewable BDO. The process, which includes a single-step fermentation, can be based on dextrose or sucrose as renewable feedstock. It was agreed not to disclose financial details of the license contract.

BASF has produced commercial volumes of renewable BDO, offering it to customers for testing and commercial use. The quality of this BDO is comparable to petrochemical-based BDO. BASF also expanded its portfolio by producing and offering Polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF®) made from renewable BDO.

“We are happy to expand our license agreement with Genomatica to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region,” said Stefan Blank, President of BASF’s Intermediates division, and added: “We appreciate Genomatica’s openness to give BASF greater flexibility to add BDO from renewable feedstock to our portfolio and to respond to market requirements.”

“We’re delighted to provide BASF with these additional license rights for our GENO™ technology,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica.  “We look forward to seeing our technology deliver sustainability benefits to our business partners, and through them, to end-users of everyday products.”

BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers for the packaging, automotive, textile, and sports and leisure industries, among others. BASF currently produces BDO and BDO equivalents at its sites in Ludwigshafen, Germany; Geismar, Louisiana; Chiba, Japan; Kuantan, Malaysia; and Caojing, China. BASF announced it would increase its global capacities for BDO to 650,000 metric tons and for PolyTHF to 350,000 metric tons by the end of 2015, and beginning of 2016, respectively.

In Italy is Mater-Biotech – a company located in Adria (Rovigo), born in 2012 and entirely controlled by Novamont, – to produce bio-Butanediol (BDO) from renewable resources through fermentation processes, thanks to the reconversion of the BioItalia ex Ajinomoto site, acquired by Novamont and at present under revamping and expansion.

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