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BASF, Renmatix to Develop Biobased Industrial Sugars

BASF and Philadelphia-based technology company Renmatix have signed a non-exclusive joint development agreement to scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass.

The collaboration follows BASF’s $30 million investment in Renmatix in January 2012.

Renmatix’s Plantrose technology enables industrial sugar to be produced, at competitive costs, from a variety of non-edible biomass (lignocellulose) sources. The proprietary process breaks down lignocellulosic sources (e.g. wood, agricultural-residues or straw) into industrial sugars using supercritical water (water at high temperature and pressure).

Industrial sugars are important building blocks for various basic chemicals and intermediates that can be produced, for example, by fermentative processes. The availability of these industrial sugars in sufficient quantities and at competitive cost is important to enable both environmentally friendly and cost-competitive bio-based products.

Incorporating biomass feedstocks as a first step in the value chain creates a raw material change that can reduce reliance on fossil raw material sources like naphtha as principal feedstock.

Earlier this month BASF produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material and is offering this product to customers for testing and commercial use.

The production process relies on a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica. The California-based biochemical company inked a deal with the German chemical giant earlier this year to build a production facility to make sugar-based BDO using Genomatica’s technology.

 

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