Versalis And Genomatica Develop Bio-Based Rubber

By Chemical Processing Staff

Feb 16, 2016

Versalis and Genomatica announce that they have successfully advanced to pilot-scale production of bio-butadiene (bio-BDE) from fully renewable feedstock. Versalis used the bio-BDE to make bio-rubber, specifically, bio-polybutadiene (bio-BR).

The development results from a new process for the on-purpose production of butadiene, which uses various types of sugars as feedstock, rather than the traditional use of hydrocarbon feedstocks, according to the companies. Versalis and Genomatica entered into a technology joint venture in early 2013.

Versalis and Genomatica determined that 1,3-butanediol (1,3-BDO) was the most suitable intermediate to produce bio-BDE. Genomatica developed a microorganism that reportedly produces 1,3-BDO in a way that enables cost-efficient, scalable fermentation, recovery and subsequent process operations. Versalis purified the 1,3-BDO, dehydrated it and then purified the resulting butadiene. Versalis produced several kilograms of butadiene from 1,3-BDO made in 200 liter fermenters at their research centers at Novara and Mantova, and then made bio-polybutadiene at the Ravenna R&D center, using both anionic and Ziegler-Natta catalysis, according to the companies.

Initial testing of the bio-BDE and bio-BR reportedly demonstrates good compatibility with industry standards.

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