Lanxess converts Genomatica's BDO into biobased PBT

By Lanxess AG and Genomatica Inc. | June 25, 2013

Lanxess AG and Genomatica Inc. have announced that Lanxess has run a production campaign of biobased polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) in its world-scale production plant using 20 metric tons of biobased 1,4-butanediol (BDO) made with Genomatica’s commercially-proven process. This BDO fully complied with the demanding Lanxess specifications for petro-based BDO allowing a direct feed of 100 percent biobased BDO into the continuous production process.

The properties and the quality of the resulting bio-based PBT are fully equivalent to conventional petro-based PBT with regard to all tested parameters. The world-scale PBT plant, with a capacity of 80,000 metric tons per year, is located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany, and operated as a joint venture in which Lanxess has a share of 50 percent.

Genomatica’s BDO process technology converts sugars—a renewable feedstock—into the major chemical BDO in a patented, “direct” fermentation process.

“We were excited to validate the bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s process as a one-to-one replacement for petro-based BDO for the production of our PBT,” said Hartwig Meier, head of global product and application development of the high performance materials business unit of Lanxess. “This is a strong signal to the market and a tremendous step forward in our future plans to offer our high-tech plastic Pocan in a biobased version, too. Due to its unchanged properties Pocan compounds based on biobased PBT can directly be used in established application fields such as automotive or electro and electronics area. This fits very well with our strategy of ‘green mobility’.”

“Lanxess’ achievement proves how quickly bio-based monomers can be integrated into world-scale polymer production plants when you deliver the exact same performance for an existing, high-volume chemical,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “This is additional proof that we got the details right.”