Global Bioenergies, the French biotech company that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation, announced yesterday that the construction of its demo plant, started mid-2015, is completed.
Global Bioenergies’ Demo plant is the only facility in the world dedicated to the direct fermentation of gaseous hydrocarbons. It is located in the facility owned by the Fraunhofer CBP, on the Leuna refinery platform. It was financed in part by the German federal ministry for research (BMBF) through a grant of €5.7m, and also through a €4.4m loan obtained from a consortium of French banks (Société Générale, BNP-Paribas, CM-CIC and BPI).
Having a nameplate capacity of 100 tons/year, the Demo plant will allow the conversion of various resources (industrial-grade sugar from beets and cane, glucose syrup from cereals, second generation sugars extracted from wheat straw, bagasse, wood chips, ecc), into high-purity isobutene.
Isobutene is a platform molecule. In the fuel sector, it is presently used to manufacture isooctane, ETBE and MTBE which are valuable compounds used in gasoline mixes. It can also be converted into isododecane, a compound found in jet fuel. Isobutene is also used to manufacture a wide variety of materials and chemicals such as rubbers, plastics, organic glass, paints and cosmetics. Scaling-up Global Bioenergies’ technology to commercial scale will enable significant carbon footprint reductions in these key industrial domains.
“The design of this Demo plant is unique”, Rick Bockrath, Global Bioenergies’ VP for Chemical Engineering, stated. “It borrows both from the fermentation and the petrochemical worlds. We are now eager to obtain the Plant certification from the TÜV, the German certification authority, and expect to bring this Demo plant to life over the coming weeks.”
“Building this Demo plant – Ales Bulc, Ceo of Global Bioenergies’ German subsidiary, stated – was a long journey and has involved numerous subcontractors. Global Bioenergies’ Leuna team assumed the role of General Contractor: Synchronizing these entities was a very complex task, but it kept the technological know-how in-house. Our success today in reaching completion demonstrates our ability to successfully execute highly innovative technology projects.”
Marc Delcourt, Ceo of Global Bioenergies, added: “In the next months and years, our Leuna Demo plant will allow us to further validate the technology in an industrial environment and to deliver ton-scale batches to various industrialists. We expect numerous new collaborations with industrialists to be set up once the Demo plant is in operations.”