Stanford team demonstrates hollow carbon nanofiber-encapsulated sulfur cathode for high-capacity Li-S batteries
Coming Opel Zafira Tourer ecoFLEX 7-seater to deliver about 52 mpg US

Synthos completes equity investment in bio-isobutene company Global Bioenergies

Global Bioenergies has closed a €1.4-million (US$2.2 million) equity investment from Synthos, a European leader in the manufacturing of rubber. This investment was part of the partnership agreement, signed in July 2011. It was calculated on the basis of a €23.48 (US$36.43) share value. Accordingly, Synthos now owns a 3.6% stake of Global Bioenergies. (Earlier post.)

Since 2008 Global Bioenergies has been developing a process to convert renewable resources into isobutene, one of the most important molecules in the chemical industry, which is easily converted into fuels, plastics and elastomers. In July 2011, Global Bioenergies and Synthos signed a partnership agreement to develop a biological process for the production of a second molecule, butadiene.

Approximately 10 million tons of butadiene are produced every year from oil, two thirds of which is used to manufacture synthetic rubber. The last third is used to produce nylon, latices, ABS plastics and other polymers. The global butadiene market has an estimated value of $30 billion.

This new butadiene program is similar to the development already carried out on the isobutene program since it is based on the same novel platform of synthetic biology. Its commencement represents an important step in constituting a portfolio of bioprocesses focused on the conversion of renewable resources to olefins which include isobutene, butadiene and four other molecules, those chemical building blocks representing a market of $300 billion.

The partnership agreement signed with Synthos in July 2011 foresees shared responsibilities during the project: Global Bioenergies will be responsible for research and development at the laboratory level, with Synthos subsequently taking the process on to the industrialization stage. Under the terms of the agreement, Global Bioenergies would receive R&D funding, multi-million euro development fees and royalty payments for Synthos’ exclusive usage of bio-butadiene for the manufacturing of synthetic rubber. Global Bioenergies will retain exclusive rights on the other applications (nylon, latices, ABS plastics and other polymers), which represent a market of $10 billion.



At a rough guess of 6 barrels/ton, total butadiene consumption amounts to about 60 million barrels per YEAR. World crude+condensate+NGL consumption is around 85 million barrels a DAY.

This shows the yawning gap between the use of oil for fuel and the use of oil for polymers. There should be no difficulty supplying polymer needs even if oil disappears.

The comments to this entry are closed.