Issue Date: March 16, 2009
Firms Advance Biochemicals
A slew of companies announced advances last week in the field of chemicals based on renewable resources. Enzymes maker Genencor said it delivered four containers of biologically derived isoprene to partner Goodyear Tire & Rubber. The isoprene, a synthetic rubber raw material, is produced by genetically engineered microorganisms. The two expect to produce it commercially by 2013. DSM and Roquette announced that they will make "demonstration" quantities of biobased succinic acid, a raw material for polymers, food, and drugs, by the end of 2009 at a plant in Lestrem, France. Commercial production is expected by 2012. Huntsman Corp. launched glycerin carbonate, a reactive intermediate and solvent made with the glycerin coproduct of biodiesel. And the urethanes firm ITWC launched a line of polyester polyols manufactured from biobased propanediol made by DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products. Rich LaDuca, Genencor's senior director of business development, says new biochemical products being developed by Genencor and other firms are the fruits of 25 years of research. "We are using gene pathway engineering to achieve cost structures that people thought were impossible," he says.
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