SAN DIEGO and NOVARA, Italy, Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Genomatica and Novamont announced they have signed a letter of intent to establish a joint venture that is expected to lead to the first industrial plants in Europe producing butanediol (BDO) from renewable feedstocks. Novamont, a leading producer of biodegradable bioplastics, will consume the BDO for captive use to meet the increasing demand for its products.
Rapid industrialization, 40 million pounds per year from first plant
The first plant is expected to have a production capacity of approximately 40 million pounds per year and will be located in Italy. The companies intend to convert an existing industrial site to use Genomatica's BDO production processes to begin production of this intermediate chemical by the end of 2012.
Key terms of the letter of intent include that Novamont will provide the capital needed for construction of the first plant. In addition, Novamont will commit to purchase the production output from the first plant. Genomatica will have an option on a portion of the BDO production.
Genomatica and Novamont will share in the earnings of plants according to specific terms between the companies. Novamont will take care of the conversion of an existing industrial site using its skills in the production of renewable monomers to implement Genomatica's BDO process and will run plant operations, while Genomatica will provide the basic engineering package for implementation of its BDO production processes, along with technology transfer and engineering support.
Genomatica processes are industrially attractive now
"Genomatica's BDO process, in Novamont's view, is ready for scale-up and also looks sustainable from the economic point of view," said Novamont CEO, Catia Bastioli. "The scale-up of Genomatica's BDO process will support the growth of Mater-Bi Bioplastics in line with Novamont's strategy of integrated biorefineries reviving de-industrialized sites."
"Genomatica's processes enable a new approach to chemical production – smaller scale, capital-efficient manufacturing from renewable feedstocks that fulfill a broad range of customer needs across the value chain," said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. "Novamont is a leader in a rapidly growing segment of the BDO market and a first-class partner to add to our commercialization efforts."
Genomatica is a technology leader for the chemical industry. It delivers new, transformative manufacturing processes that enable its partners to produce intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks. These chemicals serve as the basis for making substantially all of the products that make modern life possible. Genomatica's processes achieve better economics with enhanced sustainability and a smaller environmental footprint than conventional, petroleum-based manufacturing processes. Genomatica is developing a pipeline of manufacturing processes for the production of these chemicals, and expects the first commercial BDO plant that utilizes its processes to begin high-volume production by the end of 2012. Genomatica is a 2011 winner of the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Genomatica has announced arrangements with Tate & Lyle, Mitsubishi Chemical, Novamont, Gruppo M&G and Waste Management.
Novamont SpA, a joint investment of Intesa SanPaolo and Investitori Associati, is a leader in the production of bioplastics containing renewable raw materials of agricultural origin. Starting as a research centre, which was demerged from Montedison in 1996 with a negligible turnover, Novamont, with more than 200 employees (30 percent of them working in R&D), ended 2010 with total sales of euro 87 million, investing over 7 percent of those sales in research and development and is steadily growing. It holds a patent portfolio which includes 90 patent families and 800 internationally registered patents. It is owner of a wide range of proprietary and proven technologies in connection with its "Bio-refinery model closely linked to the Territory" by working in partnership with the agricultural, industrial, institutional and academic sectors. Inter alia, Novamont received the "World Summit Business Award for Sustainable Development Partnership" by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 2002 and the Inventor of the Year 2007 Award by European Union and EPO (European Patent Office). It is based in Novara (Italy) and its production sites are in Terni and in Porto Torres (Sardinia), through Matrica, a recent joint venture with ENI/Polimeri Europa. It operates directly or through its distributors in Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia, Denmark, United Kingdom, United States, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.