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lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2016

Green Biologics starts shipments of biobutanol and acetone from its Little Falls biorefinery

During the first decades of the past century, ABE fermentative process was widely utilized to produce n-butanol using strains of bacteria from the class Clostridia. However, it began to experience a decline by the 1960´s and, since that time, most butanol is produced commercially from fossil fuels. At present, several players involved in the biobutanol production are developing modifications of the original ABE process (learn more about biobutanol biorefineries). Green Biologics Ltd (GBL), a UK industrial biotechnology and renewable specialty chemicals company, is one of them. GBL is focusing on metabolic engineering of the Clostridium strains to optimize the yield of n-butanol. And, it has taken significant steps in the right direction. Last one, the start of commercial shipments of biobutanol and acetone from its manufacturing facility in Minnesota (see press release). Both butanol and acetone products carry the brand name BioPure™ and have recently received USDA BioPreferred® status.

Just a year ago, the blog reported the beginning of the retrofit works in the Little Falls biorefinery (MN, USA). The existing manufacturing site (an ethanol plant), formerly known as The Central MN Ethanol Cooperative (CMEC), was acquired by GBL in December 2014 and re-named as Central MN Renewables (CMR). The 21 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant has been retrofitted with Green Biologics’proprietary advanced fermentation technology to produce biobutanol and acetone. Now, the facility is running and the production is expected to ramp up to full capacity over the next twelve to eighteen months.

Figure 1. Partial view of Central MN Renewables (extracted from GBL press release)

“The start of our first commercial facility is a critical milestone in building our position within the industry as a global renewable speciality chemicals company”, said Sean Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of GBL. “We’re very proud to announce the start of shipments to key customers in high value markets and look forward to working with existing and new collaborators to bring a wide range of sustainable, environmentally-friendly products to shelves.” Over the past year, GBL has built a robust pipeline of domestic and export customers combined with multiple partnerships to bring its products to downstream markets. These include distribution agreements with Acme Hardesty, Nexeo Solutions and Caldic as well as a strategic partnership with HOC Industries.

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