Solugen and ADM Partner to Build Biomanufacturing Facility for Sustainable Materials Innovation

Oct. 31, 2023
ADM will use Solugen's Bioforge process, which recently earned an EPA Green Chemistry award.

Biomanufacturing company Solugen said Oct. 30 it will build a 500,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) existing corn complex in Marshall, Minnesota.

The Solugen plant will use ADM-provided dextrose to scale its current line of lower-carbon organic acids and develop new molecules to replace existing fossil fuel-based materials. The companies also plan to collaborate on commercializing these biomaterials for a range of applications including energy, water treatment, agriculture, construction materials, cleaning and personal care products.

“The strategic partnership with ADM will allow Solugen to bring our chemienzymatic process to a commercial scale and meet existing customer demand for our high-performance, cost-competitive, sustainable products,” said Gaurab Chakrabarti, co-founder and CEO of Solugen, in a news release. “As one of the few scaled-up and de-risked biomanufacturing assets in the country, Solugen’s Bioforge platform is helping bolster domestic capabilities and supply chains that are critical in ensuring the U.S. reaches its ambitious climate targets.”

Houston-based Solugen has developed a process called Bioforge that converts plant-derived substances into various materials that are typically made from fossil fuels. The company received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Chemistry Challenge Award on Oct. 23 for its Bioforge technology.  

Solugen plans to begin offsite construction in 2023 and on-site construction in early 2024. The initial production phase is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2025.

“The initial phase of the project will significantly increase Solugen’s manufacturing capacity, which is critical for commercializing our existing line of molecules and kicks off plans for a multi-phase large-scale U.S. Bioforge buildout,” said Sean Hunt, co-founder and chief technology officer of Solugen. “The increase in capacity will also free up our Houston operation for research and development efforts into additional molecules and market applications.”

Biomanufacturing has gained increased attention from industry and government in recent years. The Biden administration referred to it as a promising approach for producing recyclable polymers, in a March 2023 report. The administration says biomanufacturing could replace over 90% of current plastics, decrease methane emissions from agriculture by capturing biogas, and promote the development of eco-friendly chemicals using bio-based raw materials. 

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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