Myriant completes construction in Louisiana, reaches scale in Germany

June 4, 2013 |

MyriantTwo announcements put the biosuccinic acid pioneer on the fast track. What’s next?

In Massachusetts, word arrived from Myriant on two fronts this week.

First, they that they have completed a successful scaling and commercial production of bio-succinic acid at ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s biotech commercial validation facility in Leuna, Germany. There, the production process meets targets for commercial yield and product quality.

Second, they have reached mechanical completion at their first small commercial (30 million pound) plant in Lake Providence, Louisiana. In December 2010 Myriant broke ground on that facility and anticipates beginning commercial production over the next few months.

Takeaways from the news

1. Ramp-up can be completed in a few months. Despite celebrated hiccups elsewhere, Myriant’s ramp-up time at the Uhde plant took “a few months” according to management. And the Leuna plant, we hear is ” at capacity and in spec.”

2. On-schedule, twice. Delays are common in early-stage companies. But here, we have an on-schedule delivery of two projects. Companies like Genomatica, Solazyme and Myriant that have stayed very much on schedule are becoming more and more the norm.

3. Bond financing works. The Lake Providence plant was financed with an innovative bond financing structure put together by the trio of Stern Brothers, Mintz Levin and Kreig DeVault. “The financing has opened up an opportunity,” said Gatto. “The bond transaction was very successful. Same type will be used again. The goal is to move to a project finance model.

4. Customers are there. Lake Providence’s 30 million pound capacity is currently “oversubscribed”. The 140 million pound plant is “at 75% in long-term contracts. By opening time, we expect that to be sold out,” noted Gatto.

5. Build technology, develop a project, then execute. We see a number of companies moving well past technology development into project development – but now an increasing number moving into the “era of execution.” It’s less glamorous but even more mission-critical. “Clearly we see replacement strategy by customers, who would like a more environmentally-friendly chemical intermediate,” Gatto told the Digest. “But they are cost and performance driven. There’s no talk about subsidies. It comes down to showing that you can operate.”

Next steps for Myriant, for industry? More about biosuccinc market? Reaction from the partners? Read on in our extended coverage by following the page links below. 

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