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Novamont Opens Plant for Production of Bio-based Butanediol

Published on 2016-09-30. Author : SpecialChem

Novara – Novamont has opened Mater-Biotech plant in Bottrighe (Rovigo), for the production of butanediol on an industrial scale directly from sugars and through the use of bacteria.

First Industrial Plant for Production of Bio-butanediol (BDO)



A chemical compound derived from butane, butanediol (1,4 BDO) is a chemical intermediate obtained from fossil sources widely used both as a solvent and for the production of plastics, elastic fibres and polyurethanes. Currently with a market of 1.5 million tons worth approximately €3.5 billion per year, it is estimated this market will grow to 2.7 million tons and more than €6.5 billion by 2020.

Using technology developed by Genomatica, the California-based leader in the field of bioengineering, Novamont has developed a biotechnological platform which takes sugars and transforms them into bio-butanediol through the action of suitably engineered e.coli type bacteria.

Scope of Novamont’s Integrated Bio-refinery Project:


  • It will be the world’s first industrial plant dedicated to the production of bio-butanediol (BDO).
  • It will produce 30,000 tons/year of low-impact BDO, with savings of more than 50% in terms of CO2 emissions thus helping achieve a “low carbon society”. 
  • The plant sees the light of day after conversion of an abandoned factory, thanks to a partnership with Genomatica, an innovative engineering company based in California.

But, when put into the context of the Novamont integrated bio-refinery project, the scope of this innovation goes beyond the availability of new technologies, bio-based products and the contribution these can make to the need to “decarbonise” planet Earth. As Catia Bastioli, Novamont CEO, puts it: “Mater-Biotech is just one facet of a system of world leader, interconnected plants to be seen as a formidable accelerator, a way of multiplying opportunities in the bioplastics and chemicals fields for the producers of raw materials, for the producers of finished products, for new entrepreneurial initiatives, for the creation of jobs, and for those who are concerned about planning a future with greater environmental and social sustainability”.

With the opening of the Mater-Biotech plant, Novamont now adds a fundamental element to its model for a bioeconomy which it interprets as the regeneration of local areas, taking over abandoned factories or sites in serious difficulty and regenerating them as true and proper “infrastructures of the bioeconomy”.

Today, Novamont has revitalized 6 such sites and has fine-tuned 4 world-leading technologies which can be multiplied in accordance with its model for a bio-refinery integrated with the local area, in which technologies and products are developed to provide concrete solutions to large-scale problems such as the recycling of organic waste.

“Mater-Biotech, together with the Novamont research centers in Piana di Monte Verna and Novara, represents a formidable platform for industrial biotechnologies, from basic research to flagship plants”, concludes Bastioli, “a major opportunity to create competitive edge in partnership with other entities in the academic and industrial sectors”.

When fully operational, the Bottrighe plant will employ around seventy people directly, plus another 180-200 considering also the supply chain.

About Novamont

The Novamont Group is world leader in the development and production of bioplastics and biochemicals through the integration of chemistry, the environment and agriculture. With 600 employees, the Group posted sales of €170 million in 2015 and made continuous investments in research and development activities (6.4% of its 2015 turnover, 20% of its staff) and has a portfolio of around 1,000 patents. The group has its headquarters in Novara, a production facility in Terni and research laboratories in Novara, Terni and Piana di Monte Verna (CE). The Novamont subsidiaries are based in Porto Torres (SS), Bottrighe (RO), Terni and Patrica (FR). Active in Germany, France and the United States through commercial offices and a representative office in Brussels (Belgium), Novamont operates through own distributors in Benelux, Scandinavia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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Source: Novamont
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