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miércoles, 23 de agosto de 2017

GENO BG – Genomatica unveils new biobased route to produce 1,3-butylene glycol

Genomatica has just unveiled its latest innovation in advanced bioengineering: the GENO BGTM process (see press release). It is a biobased technology to make 1,3-butylene glycol (BG). In this manner, the California-based company joins the specialty chemical space and expands its portfolio that includes platform chemicals as 1,4-butanediol, butadiene and polyamide intermediates.

The product

1,3-Butylene glycol, also known as 1,3-butanediol (in fact, it is one of the four stable structural isomers of butanediol), is a four-carbon organic compound that belongs to the family of secondary alcohols. It is used as a multifunctional emollient and humectant in skin-care and haircare formulations and other personal care applications, as solvent in the fragrance industry and as an additive in the food and beverage industry. Also, it is a co-monomer in certain polyurethane and polyester resins.

Figure 1. Genomatica has begun to produce bio-BG in 85,000 liter fermenters at EW Biotech (extracted from the press release of Genomatica)

A new biobased route

The conventional pathway to obtain BG involves the catalytic hydrogenation of aldol using Raney nickel. The starting material is fossil fuel-derived acetaldehyde. Genomatica’s biobased butylene glycol is made via fermentation from plant-based ingredients. The process generates a distinctively pure product as compared to chemistry-based process.

It has to be mentioned that Godavari Biorefineries is already manufacturing 1,3-butylene glycol from biobased resources. However, in its case, the process is based on acetaldehyde produced from bioethanol.

Current status of the technology

GENO BG process has been developed in stealth and the advances are being even faster than those of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) process. In this regard, it is noted that Genomatica’s GENO BDO process technology is already working at commercial-scale at Novamont’s Mater-Biotech plant. Genomatica has already produced bio-BG for sampling and has transferred the process to 85,000 liter production fermenters at EW Biotech in Leuna (Germany).

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