Industry News

BioHub®, a Program Supported by Roquette and Bpifrance Concludes

Published on 2015-09-22. Author : SpecialChem

Roquette, one of the largest starch manufacturers in the world, emphasizes the industrial and commercial successes resulting from the BioHub® program, supported by Bpifrance since 2006, and announces its closure.

Fig. 1: BioHub

Throughout this program Roquette and its partners have developed innovative solutions for the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets.

A program at the service of innovation

Launched in 2006 and essentially focused on breakthrough projects, the BioHub® program has initiated several industrial developments: isosorbide and biosuccinic acid for the manufacture of performance plastics and the isosorbide diesters used as plasticizers. Thanks to all these new solutions, new innovative materials are in the process of being marketed.
Fig. 1: Thanks to its new production unit, Roquette offers
its customers a range of POLYSORB® isosorbide in very high quality.

In order to bring this program to a successful conclusion, ROQUETTE, the leader of BioHub®, brought together numerous private sector and public partners: ARKEMA (France), DSM (Netherlands), BASF (formerly COGNIS, Germany), SOLVAY (France), TERGAL FIBRES (France), SIDEL (France), EUROVIA/VINCI (France), METABOLIC EXPLORER (France), INSA Lyon and Rouen (France), IMMCL Lille (CNRS), RICE UNIVERSITY (USA).

Faster Industrial developments thanks to the backing of Bpifrance

Bpifrance’s support provided in the form of subsidies and recoverable advances in the context of an Industrial Innovation Mobilization Program (PMII) has enabled the development and production of new chemicals using renewable agricultural materials, such as cereals, transformed thanks to of new chemical and biotechnological processes.

This support, provided in difficult circumstances linked to the slowing down of the economy and the fall in the prices of fossil-based raw materials, contributed to Roquette’s decision to make major industrial investments resulting from this program.

New offers meeting the needs of the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets

This program led to the development of POLYSORB® isosorbide enabling polymers to be endowed with exceptional properties, in particular an increased heat resistance and excellent transparency and U.V. resistance. The POLYSORB® isosorbide is a valuable solution for the performance plastics markets.

Thanks to solid technological expertise resulting from over eight years of targeted studies in various fields, an industrial production process for very high purity isosorbide was perfected.

Roquette then invested in and recently inaugurated at the beginning of 2015 in Lestrem (France) a 20,000 tons/year isosorbide production unit. Roquette is now the world leader for isosorbide for the plastics and chemistry specialty markets.

The biosuccinic acid project is based on an innovative and unique biotechnology using yeast. Following the setting up of the joint-venture Reverdia (DSM / Roquette 50/50), the project has resulted in an industrial production unit of 10,000 tons/year located on the Roquette site in Cassano (Italy). This fully operational unit offers the market a product that fully meets the expectations of the customers in the polymer sectors.

Christophe Rupp Dahlem, the Roquette Plant-Based Chemistry R&D Vice President, concludes: “The BioHub® program, launched in 2006, was the first program on a European scale backed by Bpifrance and providing new biobased solutions for the automotive, construction and packaging markets. The advances obtained confirm once more the Group’s determination to establish privileged relationships with its customers».

For Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Bpifrance in charge of Innovation: « With Bpifrance actively involved in the energy and environmental transition, we are delighted with the success of the BioHub® program. Roquette succeeded in bringing together several partners right from the start and throughout all the development stages resulting in the production of biobased products that satisfy the market needs while at the same time providing an alternative to petrochemical products».

About Bpifrance

Bpifrance is a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and the French government, and the trusted partner of entrepreneurs. The French public investment bank finances businesses from the seed phase to stock exchange listing, through loans, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance accompanies firms developing export activities and provides support services for their innovation and acquisition projects, in partnership with Business France and Coface.

Bpifrance offers businesses a financing continuum, present in every key phase of business development and an offer adapted to the specific regional context.

With a network of 42 regional offices (90% of decisions are made at the regional level), Bpifrance serves entrepreneurs to boost economic competitiveness. Bpifrance acts in support of public policy established by the State and the Regions to meet three goals:
• accompany businesses in their growth;
• prepare tomorrow’s competitive landscape;
• develop an ecosystem that favours entrepreneurship.

Bpifrance acts as a powerful partner to businesses, one that is on hand and able to respond efficiently to all of their financing, innovation and investment needs.

About Roquette

Serving a comprehensive range of industrial sectors, Roquette is one of the world's most advanced producers of starch and starch derivatives. It is also its leading expert in polyols, and the leading European producer of maltodextrins, pyrogen free raw materials and cationic starches. Roquette factories in Europe, America and Asia process exclusively renewable raw materials, such as maize, wheat, potatoes and peas; over 700 products in worldwide demand testify to the quality and success of the company's outstanding research, sourcing, production and delivery systems.

Source: Roquette

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