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€2.2M paid to Global Bioenergies after the first term of the OPTISOCHEM European project; bio-isobutene from wheat straw

Global Bioenergies has received a payment of €2.2 million for the OPTISOCHEM project supported by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) the public-private sector partnership between the European Union and the Bio-Based Industries Consortium (BIC) under the European Horizon 2020 program.

Global Bioenergies has successfully converted sugars from wheat straw into bio-isobutene at demo plant scale: Clariant, a partner on the supply side of the consortium, has used its Sunliquid technology to produce sugar-rich hydrolysates from wheat straw, which were then converted into isobutene in Global Bioenergies’ demo plant located in Leuna, Germany.

This isobutene is then itself dedicated to be converted by chemistry specialist INEOS, also a member of the OPTISOCHEM project, into polymers and oligomers that can be used in any number of high-performance applications, particularly in cosmetics.

On the 26 February, members of the OPTISOCHEM project presented activities from the first term of the project to independent experts appointed by the BBI-JU. Further to the internal validation procedure set up by the BBI-JU, the consortium has just received the sum of €3.3 million, of which €2.2 million went to Global Bioenergies.

Concurrently with our work on traditional sugar sources (sucrose or glucose from sugar beet, sugar cane or starch), we have successfully adapted our bio-sourced isobutene production process to the use of so-called “advanced” sources of sugar both economically attractive and presenting a positive environmental profile.

In this OPTISOCHEM project, for instance, the sugar comes from straw. In two other projects (REWOFUEL and SWEETWOODS) we are adapting our micro-organisms to sugars from soft and hard woods. These advanced sugars are mostly composed of glucose but they also contain variable proportions of secondary sugars (xylose, mannose and arabinose in particular) along with impurities that are known to inhibit the fermentation process. Adaptation work consists in "teaching" our isobutene-producing micro-organisms to convert all sugars whilst dealing with impurities.

—Bernard Chaud, Head of Industrial Strategy at Global Bioenergies



"particularly in cosmetics"
this will replace huge amounts of petroleum.

I hope they have other applications, and that the economics also work for less high-end products.

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