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Global Bioenergies and Synthos Form Strategic Partnership on Biological Butadiene

Published on 2011-07-22. Author : SpecialChem

Evry, France and Oświeçim, Poland -- Synthos S.A., a European leader in the manufacturing of rubber, and Global Bioenergies S.A., an industrial biology company developing sustainable routes to light olefins, announce the signing of a partnership agreement to develop a new process for the conversion of renewable resources into butadiene, involving research funding, multi-million euro development fees, royalty payments, repartition of exploitation rights, and a €1.4m equity investment in Global Bioenergies.

Butadiene, one of the major building blocks of the petrochemical industry, is presently exclusively produced from oil. About 10mT are produced each year, of which two thirds are used to manufacture synthetic rubber. The last third is used to produce nylon, latices, ABS plastics and other polymers. The spot price of butadiene has recently rocketed to over $3/kg, and as such the global butadiene market is estimated at $30bn.

Synthos, a leader in manufacturing synthetic rubber with annual revenues amounting to over €1bn, and Global Bioenergies, focused on the development of biological processes to produce light olefins, have decided to join their strengths to develop and industrialize a process to convert renewable resources into butadiene.

Both parties have different responsibilities in the project, with Global Bioenergies taking care of research and process development at the laboratory level, and Synthos subsequently taking the process on to the industrialization stage.

Under this agreement Global Bioenergies would receive R&D funding, multi-million euro development fees, and royalty payments from Synthos on sales of bio-butadiene for the manufacturing of rubber. Global Bioenergies will retain the exclusive rights on non-rubber applications.

Tomasz Kalwat, Chairman of Synthos, states: "We are very much looking forward to joining forces with Global Bioenergies, a company developing a unique approach based on synthetic biology. The development of an eco-friendly and inexpensive bio-butadiene process prepares Synthos for next generation of rubber, and contributes to giving Synthos a competitive advantage in the mid- and long-term future. "

Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies, adds: "This butadiene program shares many similarities with our isobutene program, and we expect it will be as successful. The long-term commitments from Synthos and the fact that we retain the exclusive exploitation rights on a $10bn market has the potential to create an important value for our shareholders." Furthermore, Synthos' confidence in Global Bioenergies' unique approach is illustrated by a €1.4m investment representing a 3.6% stake in Global Bioenergies.

About Synthos

Synthos S.A. is one of the largest manufacturers of chemical raw materials in Poland, as well as being Europe's No. 1 manufacturer of rubber emulsions and third largest manufacturer of polystyrene for foaming applications. The company supplies advanced technological products of the highest quality.

About Global Bioenergies

Founded in 2008 by Marc Delcourt and Philippe Marlière at Genopole (Evry, France), Global Bioenergies is one of the few companies worldwide, and the only one in Europe, that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation. Ahead of its schedule, the company has successfully achieved the first steps of the development of its process to convert plant resources into isobutene: proof of concept, strain construction, laboratory prototype. Isobutene is one of the most important petrochemical building blocks and can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the yield of its process and prepares the phase dedicated to pilot testing. The company also intends to replicate this success to the other members of the gaseous alkene family (propylene, ethylene, linear butylenes, butadiene…), key molecules of the petrochemical industry which are currently derived exclusively from fossil oil.

Source: Global Bioenergies

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