Biopolymer producer Braskem and Genomatica, a biotechnology company, have signed an agreement for the joint development of a new technology for the production of butadiene from renewable feedstocks.
Braskem says its objective with the green chemical is to primarily serve the synthetic rubber market, whose demand is currently met by naphtha-based butadiene. The company’s forecast calls for growing demand for butadiene-based elastomers by tire manufacturers, the largest consumers of butadiene.
In addition to researching alternatives based on renewable feedstocks, the partnership will also work to develop routes that are also competitive in terms of production cost. Under the agreement Braskem and Genomatica will build pilot and demonstration plants. The agreement gives Braskem certain exclusivity rights to the technology’s use in the Americas.
In addition to serving as a raw material for the tire industry, butadiene-based materials are also used in home appliances, footwear, plastics, asphalt modifiers, oil lubricant additives, tubing, construction components and latex.
Earlier this month BASF produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material using a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica. Genomatica inked a deal with BASF earlier this year to build a production facility to make sugar-based BDO using Genomatica’s technology.