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Global Bioenergies secures a €5.7M grant to proceed with its second industrial pilot in Germany

Global Bioenergies will construct its second industrial pilot on the site of the Leuna refinery, close to Leipzig in Germany. This new pilot plant, to be supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through a €5.7-million (US$7.7-million) grant, should include a three-year study at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CBP). The pre-commercial pilot is designed for an isobutene production capacity of up to 100 tons per year.

Global Bioenergies is a pioneer in the development of one-step fermentation processes for the direct and cost-efficient transformation of renewable resources into light olefins, the key building blocks of the petrochemical industry.

The company’s German subsidiary, Global Bioenergies GmbH, located in the Bio-City building in Leipzig, was awarded the €5.7-million grant from the BMBF within the “BioEconomy Cluster” framework.

After conducting a systematic assessment of available pilot facilities in North America and Europe, we have concluded that the Fraunhofer CBP platform in Leuna offers the unique combination of fermentation capabilities and olefin-oriented chemical engineering. Articulating our process with the recognized German knowledge in chemical engineering will be a key success factor.

—Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies SA

The pilot plant in Leuna will combine two 5,000 liter fermenters and a complete purification system, mimicking all aspects of a commercial scale plant. Designed for a production capacity of up to 100 tons per year, the isobutene produced in Leuna can be used for the fabrication of plastics, elastomers and fuels. Such scale will enable the delivery of samples to industrialists. This second pilot is the final step in Global Bioenergies’ development program before the full scale exploitation of the isobutene process.

In June 2013, Global Bioenergies announced the launch of its first industrial pilot in the heart of the Bazancourt-Pomacle biorefinery, close to Reims. This first pilot, to be run through a collaboration with Arkema and the CNRS, is supported by a €5.2-million state financing through the French “Investissements d’Avenir” program. This first industrial pilot will set the bases for large scale exploitation of the isobutene process in its application to methacrylics.

Global Bioenergies, which is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation, initially focused its efforts on the production of isobutene. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the yield of its process and is actively entering the industrial pilot testing phase. The company recently replicated this success to propylene and butadiene and is also looking to continue with other members of the gaseous olefins family, key molecules at the heart of petrochemical industry.

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