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Global Bioenergies successfully scales up renewable isobutene process in Leuna Demo plant

Global Bioenergies has succeeded in producing isobutene by fermentation at the scale of the Leuna Demo plant (a 5,000-liter fermenter), with run length and performances exceeding those performed on the pilot plant in Pomacle (a 500-liter fermenter).

Success in this phase of the process’ scale up was obtained less than five months after start-up of the fermentation unit at the Leuna Demo plant, in December 2016. This success is an important milestone on the critical path to large scale operation of the isobutene process. Rick Bockrath, VP Chemical Engineering, noted that the process is still below commercial metrics; efforts over the coming months will focus on improving productivity.

The direct production of gaseous Isobutene by fermentation is a novel field which we are pioneering. It was far from certain that we would be able to so quickly replicate at the scale of the demo plant the results achieved in smaller volumes.

—Ales Bulc, Managing Director of the German subsidiary of Global Bioenergies

The purification unit has also received the approval from the TÜV, the principal certification body in Germany. After commissioning of the filling station, the Demo plant will be fully certified for operation. Delivery to partners of the first batches of isobutene for testing is expected in June timeframe.

One of our major objectives for 2017 will be to come closer to commercial performances at Leuna Demo plant. We will then have a mature process, ready to be transferred to the future commercial plants.

—Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies



Is isobutene a synthetic gasoline ? I might be interrested to buy if they sell in my area at a better price that actual petroleum gas at 1.15$ a liter.

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