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Global Bioenergies reports first production of isobutene from wheat straw at the industrial pilot scale

Global Bioenergies and Clariant announced the first isobutene production from a wheat straw hydrolysate, in the industrial pilot of Pomacle Bazancourt. This success is the result of a collaboration initiated more than 18 months ago, and has been made possible by combining Clariant’s proprietary process, allowing for the conversion of agricultural residues into sugar-rich hydrolysates, with Global Bioenergies’ proprietary process for the production of isobutene from various industrial-grade sugars.

Clariant has produced the wheat straw hydrolysate, rich in non food/non feed second generation sugar, in its Straubing facility in Germany. This hydrolysate was converted into renewable isobutene in Global Bioenergies’ industrial pilot operated by ARD in its Pomacle-Bazancourt facility. This result demonstrates the maturity, the complementarity, and the versatility of the two proprietary processes.

Clariant has developed a process allowing for the extraction of sugars from agricultural residues. These second-generation sugars are produced as hydrolysates. Clariant’s Pre-commercial plant of Straubing can provide large amounts of such sugars and transforms them into ethanol using the sunliquid (earlier post) process, with a capacity of 1000 tons ethanol output per year. The production of isobutene opens the door for a more general use of 2G sugars, beyond the ethanol market.

Global Bioenergies develops a process allowing for the production of bio-based isobutene by fermentation of various industrial-grade sugars. Isooctane, a derivative of isobutene, is an ideal additive for gasoline. Isooctane has by definition an octane rating of 100, associated with a low vapor pressure, two features ensuring better engine performances and environmental impact. Global Bioenergies has been actively investigating new potential feedstocks since 2014.

The success of this approach, at the laboratory scale, was announced in March 2015, after a first round of tests using various non food/non feed sugars, including samples provided by Clariant. Scaling-up this approach in the Pomacle industrial pilot is an important milestone towards an integrated process from agricultural residues to isobutene.



Farmers can take all the residue if they plant a cover crop like clover used for animals. It allows early planting where residue use to block the sunlight on cold ground.

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