BOTTRIGHE, Italy—Novamont, the Bottrighe-headquartered bio-based chemical materials company, has announced it has opened a plant for the production of butanediol directly from sugars through the use of bacteria.
Derived from butane, butanediol is a chemical intermediate, usually obtained from fossil sources, which is used for the production of plastics, elastic fibers and polyurethanes.
Novamont says the new facility, Mater-Biotech, will be located in Bottrighe near Rovigo on Italy's Po River delta and will produce 30,000 metric tons per year of low-impact Bio-Butanediol. The plant will save more than 50 percent in terms of CO2 emissions.
Novamont is investing $112 million in the Bottrighe plant that will employ around 70 directly when fully operational, plus another 180-200 when considering the supply chain.
Currently, the company estimates the BDO market to be worth $3.91 billion per year with a volume of 1.5 million tons and has an estimated capacity to grow to more than $7.3 billion and 2.7 million tons by 2020.
Novamont partnered with San Diego-based biotech company Genomatica for the new plant. With Genomatica, Novamont has developed a biotechnological platform which takes sugars and transforms them into bio-butanediol through engineered e.coli type bacteria.
“Mater-Biotech is just one facet of a system of world leader, interconnected plants to be seen as a formidable accelerator, a way of multiplying opportunities in the bioplastics and chemicals fields for the producers of raw materials, for the producers of finished products, for new entrepreneurial initiatives, for the creation of jobs, and for those who are concerned about planning a future with greater environmental and social sustainability.” Noamont CEO Catia Bastioli said in a statement.
“Mater-Biotech, together with the Novamont research centers in Piana di Monte Verna and Novara, represents a formidable platform for industrial biotechnologies, from basic research to flagship plants”
Novamont currently has around 600 employees and an annual global sales of $190 million. It has offices in Germany, France and the U.S. and says it operates through its own distributors in Benelux, Scandinavia, the U.K., China, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.