First success in scaling up the Isobutene process in the Leuna Demo plant
Global Bioenergies today announces that it has succeeded in producing Isobutene by fermentation at the scale of the Leuna Demo plant (a 5,000 litre fermenter), with run length and performances exceeding those performed on the pilot plant in Pomacle (a 500 litre fermenter).
Success in this phase of the process’ scale up was obtained less than five months after start-up of the fermentation unit at the Leuna Demo plant, in December 2016. This success is an important milestone on the critical path to large scale operation of the Isobutene process.
Ales Bulc, Managing Director of the German subsidiary of Global Bioenergies, says: “The direct production of gaseous Isobutene by fermentation is a novel field which we are pioneering. It was far from certain that we would be able to so quickly replicate at the scale of the demo plant the results achieved in smaller volumes.”
Rick Bockrath, VP Chemical Engineering, adds: “Today, the process is still below commercial metrics and our efforts over the coming months will focus on improving productivity.”
Denis Thibaut, Fermentation Manager, points out: “New strains and new protocols associated with improved performances have recently been identified in the laboratory. They will soon be transferred to the Demo plant.”
The Company also announces that the purification unit has also received the approval from the TÜV, the principal certification body in Germany. After commissioning of the filling station, the Demo plant will be fully certified for operation. Delivery to partners of the first batches of Isobutene for testing is expected in June timeframe.
Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies, concludes: “One of our major objectives for 2017 will be to come closer to commercial performances at Leuna Demo plant. We will then have a mature process, ready to be transferred to the future commercial plants.”
About GLOBAL BIOENERGIES
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. The Company initially focused its efforts on the production of isobutene, one of the most important petrochemical building blocks that can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the performance of its process, operates an industrial pilot, has started operations at its demo plant in Germany, and is preparing its first full-scale plant through a joint venture with Cristal Union, named IBN-One. The company also replicated its achievement to propylene and butadiene, two members of the gaseous olefins family, key molecules at the heart of petrochemical industry. Global Bioenergies is listed on Alternext, Euronext Paris (FR0011052257 – ALGBE).