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.
Two Italian companies, Bio-on and Sadam Group, has begun working on a project to develop innovative industrial processes, at competitive cost and with low environmental impact, to produce levulinic acid, a key element of the sustainable chemical industry of the future.
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.
Caserta re-starts from the bioeconomy. If the Southern Italian city between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries was known everywhere for the quality of its silk, today can aspire to become a center of gravity of the new sustainable bio-based economy. Here, GF Biochemicals launched last July the commercial-scale production of levulinic acid, using biomass as feedstock. The levulinic acid is a chemical building block that is used in various industrial sectors, from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics, from personal care to flavors and fragrances, from coating to fuel additives. In 2015 the company has produced 2 thousand tons and aims at producing 10 thousand tons in 2017 and up 50 thousand tons by 2019. A revolution, if we think that the company located in Caserta is certain to offer to the market in a few years the bio-based levulinic acid to a price of one dollar per kilo, versus the current 4-5 dollars per kilo for the corresponding product from oil, offering the same performance.
The protagonists of this bio-revolution, which is a key to economic development crucial for Italy and the Southern Italy in particular, are Pasquale Granata, young local entrepreneur, and Mathieu Flamini, the famous Arsenal player, former AC Milan, who unveiled a few days ago his involvement in the company in an interview with the Sun on Sunday.
In this exclusive interview is Pasquale Granata to talk with us about GFBiochemicals and the bioeconomy, as a key to regional regeneration to create economic development and new jobs within a framework of eco-sustainability.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
“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.