Joint venture for the production of bio-based succinic acid

Joint venture for the production of bio-based succinic acid

German chemical giant BASF and Purac, a subsidiary of CSM (a global leader in lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives and the largest supplier of bakery products worldwide), enter a joint venture for the production and sale of bio-based succinic acid

The joint-venture company to be formed is Succinity GmbH (headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany) will be owned jointly 50 : 50 % and be operational in 2013 if the competition authorities will give their go ahead.

BASF and CSM have conducted research on succinic acid since 2009 under a joint development agreement. The co9mplementary strengths in fermentation and downstream processing led to the development of a sustainable and highly efficient manufacturing process based on a proprietary microorganism. The bacterium used is Basfia succiniciproucens, which produces succinic acid through natural processes. It is capable of metabolising a variety of renewable feedstocks into succinic acid. The new process combines high efficiency with the use of renewable raw materials and the fixation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the production of succinic acid. This makes bio-based succinic acid an economically and ecologically attractive alternative to petrochemical raw materials.

The demand for succinic acid is anticipated to grow strongly in the years ahead, driven mainly by bio-plastics, chemical intermediates, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticisers.

BASF and CSM are currently modifying an existing fermentation facility at Purac’s Montmélo site near Barcelona (E), for the production of succinic acid. This plant will commence operations in late 2013 with an annual capacity of 10000 metric tons and will put the new joint venture company in a leading position in the global marketplace. There are plans for a second large-scale facility with an annual capacity of 50000 metric tons of succinic acid to enable the company to respond to the expected increase in demand. The final investment decision for this facility will be made following a successful market introduction.

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