Biobased chemicals firm Genomatica says it has successfully scaled up its fermentation process for making 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from sugar. The company produced more than 5 million lb of BDO in a five-week campaign at a Loudon, Tenn., plant operated by partner DuPont Tate & Lyle. The partners have operated a BDO pilot plant in Decatur, Ill., since 2011. DuPont Tate & Lyle has significant experience making biobased intermediates via fermentation; since 2006 it has produced commercial quantities of 1,3-propanediol in Loudon for polymer and personal care markets. Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling tells C&EN that the BDO campaign was intended to validate large-scale production with its microbe. However, the firm does not have a specific plan or partner for a purpose-built commercial facility in the U.S. In Italy, it has formed a joint venture to produce BDO with Novamont, a bioplastics firm. Schilling points out that biobased BDO is a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based BDO, a polyurethane and spandex intermediate with a market of 3 billion lb per year.