The Italian biochemical company GFBiochemicals and Atlanta-based American Process Inc., which is specialized in the development of technologies for the commercial production of sugars and ethanol from biomass, have entered into a joint development agreement to create the largest integrated cellulosic biorefinery in the world. “The agreement – both companies stated – is rooted in our complementary industrial operations and joint vision for a lower-carbon future”. The proposed biorefinery, located in the U.S, is expected to create 50-200 thousand tonnes per annum of bio-based products, addressing markets with a potential annual value of USD 10 billion.
Yesterday in Milan, Italy, started the first edition of the first European Master in Bioeconomy in the Circular economy. To organise it are four Italian universities from North to South (University of Turin, University of Milan Bicocca, University of Bologna and University of Naples Federico II), with the support of three of the main Italian bioeconomy players (Novamont, GFBiochemicals and Science Park of Lodi) and the Italian leading banking Group Intesa Sanpaolo, which is the only financial global partner of the Ellen McArthur Foudation.
GFBiochemicals expands in the United States and puts itself in a position of world leadership in the levulinic acid production from biomass. The Italian company, co-founded in 2008 by the young Italian entrepreneur Pasquale Granata and Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, bought the production facilities and intellectual property rights of Segetis, which is based in Minnesota, according to a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Former AC Milan and France midfielder Mathieu Flamini is a bioeconomy’s supporter. He has revealed that he is one of the people behind GFBiochemicals, a bio-based company that has developed a process to produce levulinic acid on an industrial scale.
“We believe that the future of chemistry is bio-based and that levulinic acid is the next big platform chemical. This is driven by the need to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependency on fossil-based feedstock. Oil reserves are also limited. This is nothing new, more a question of when we will be forced to move away from oil. Rather than wait and see, we prefer to be pioneers of the emerging bioeconomy bringing bio-based solutions like levulinic acid and its derivatives to the market”. Marcel van Berkel, Chief Commercial Officer of GFBiochemicals, talks to Il Bioeconomista.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
Biobased chemical company GFBiochemicals has started commercial production at its 10,000 MT/a capacity levulinic acid plant in Caserta, Italy. The announcement was made at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montréal (Canada). GFBiochemicals is the first company to produce levulinic acid at commercial scale directly from biomass.
Despite the lack of a National strategy, the Italian bioeconomy is a reality. Italian biobased chemicals company GFBiochemicals is starting commercialization of its levulinic acid thanks to its proprietary breakthrough technology. Commercial-scale production will start in Summer 2015 in Caserta, Italy plant, close to Naples.