Pacific Rim Summit: Renewable Chemicals

Biofuels & Climate Change

Two companies commercializing different techniques to produce chemicals from renewable resources gave presentations this morning at BIO’s Pacific Rim Summit.

Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica in San Diego, outlined the company’s strategy for making butanediol (BDO) directly from sugars. BDO is a polymer used in things such as spandex, betadine, and car parts including tires. Genomatica says its process uses 30 percent less energy, reduces CO2 and GHG emissions, and produces a 40-60 percent saving in capital expenditures. Plus, there is a $3 billion existing market.

Sam McConnell of Myriant described his company’s strategy for making succinic acid, which is a chemical intermediate that can be converted into many other products. Myriant is partnering with the University of Florida and Buckeye Technologies on a plant in Perry, Fla., which they project to be completed in 2010. The output of the plant is already 80 percent sold, according to McConnell.

A recording of the session is available from bio.org.

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