The US bioeconomy takes a step forward: in Iowa the first bio-1,4 butanediol facility to be built in America


The US bioeconomy takes a step forward. Genomatica, Cargill, HELM and Qore completed a groundbreaking ceremony in Eddyville, Iowa, to celebrate the construction of the first, bio-1,4-butanediol (BDO) facility to be built in the U.S. and the second bio BDO commercial scale plant for Geno. It’s a major milestone for biotech to supply more sustainable materials to meet surging consumer demand, while advancing manufacturing right in America’s heartland.

The groundbreaking comes following Geno’s agreement to license its Geno Bio-BDO™ biomanufacturing process technology to Cargill, which is using it in its joint venture with HELM, Qore, to produce bio-BDO. The new facility follows a $300M investment by Cargill and HELM at the biotechnology campus in Eddyville and is expected to be completed by 2024 to meet the demanding specification of product supply chains.

Qore has licensed Genomatica’s BDO process technology and is using Cargill’s global feedstock supply and fermentation manufacturing expertise to initially produce and distribute an expected 65,000 metric tons per year minimally of its first bio-intermediate, QIRA. HELM will work with brand owners, original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers to incorporate QIRA into their respective products.

The Qore joint venture will focus on producing QIRA™, the next-generation 1,4-butanediol (BDO). Made biologically through the fermentation of plant-based sugars, QIRA can save up to 93 percent of greenhouse gas emissions when replacing today’s widely used chemical intermediates made from traditional fossil sources. QIRA can be used the same way as its chemical counterpart but with significantly better environmental performance. For example, QIRA can be used for making spandex and other polyester-based chemical fibers as well as biodegradable plastics, polyurethane coatings, sealants and artificial leathers, thereby improving their environmental footprint. 


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