Global Bioenergies secures a $7M grant to proceed with its second industrial pilot in Germany

November 21, 2013 |

In Germany, Global Bioenergies announced that it will build a second industrial pilot on the site of the Leuna refinery, close to Leipzig in Germany. This new pilot plant, to be supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research through a $7 million grant, will include a 3 year study at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes. The grant is part of the German government’s overall support of the Fraunhofer CBP, inaugurated in October 2012 by Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the BioEconomy Cluster.

Global Bioenergies is a pioneer in the development of one-step fermentation processes for the direct and cost-efficient transformation of renewable resources into light olefin hydrocarbons, the key building blocks of the petrochemical industry.

This second facility represents a 10X jump in scale from the company’s first project, and will allow for a much purer isobutene product to be collected — required for certain downstream applications such as butyl rubber polymerization.

The pilot plant in Leuna will combine two 5,000 liter fermenters and a complete purification system, mimicking all aspects of a commercial scale plant. Designed for a production capacity of up to 100 tons per year, the isobutene produced in Leuna can be used for the fabrication of plastics, elastomers and fuels. Such scale will enable the delivery of samples to industrialists. This second pilot is the final step in Global Bioenergies’ development program before the full scale exploitation of the isobutene process.

In June 2013, Global Bioenergies had announced the launch of its first industrial pilot in the heart of the Bazancourt-Pomacle biorefinery, close to Reims. This first pilot, to be run through a collaboration with Arkema and the CNRS, is supported by a EUR 5.2 million state financing through the French “Investissements d’Avenir” program. This first industrial pilot will set the bases for large scale exploitation of the isobutene process in its application to methacrylics.

“After conducting a systematic assessment of available pilot facilities in North America and Europe, we have concluded that the Fraunhofer CBP platform in Leuna offers the unique combination of fermentation capabilities and olefin-oriented chemical engineering. Articulating our process with the recognized German knowledge in chemical engineering will be a key success factor”, commented Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies SA.

Gerd Unkelbach, Head of the Fraunhofer CBP, added: “Historically focused on petro-chemistry, the area around Leuna will benefit from new processes based on renewable resources, such as the one from Global Bioenergies. Twe can now focus on building a European success story and taking part in the global transition from fossil to renewable resources”, added Thomas Buhl, Managing Director of Global Bioenergies GmbH.

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