BASF and CSM announce joint production development of bio-based succinic acid
Ludwigshafen/Diemen – German chemistry giant BASF SE and the Dutch market leader in lactic acid production CSM NV have formed a cooperation to manufacture bio-based succinic acid, a platform chemical that can be used to produce butandiol, pyrrolidone and tetrahydrofuran economically from non-fossile raw materials. The companies’ subsidiaries, BASF Future Business GmbH and PURAC, which both have been working independently on the development of the industrial fermentation and down-stream processing of the important C4-intermediate for years, said they will start commercial production of succinic acid from renewable feedstocks by 2Q/2010, after final tests in pilot scale. The process of bacterial fermentation is already economic, according to BASF, who told EuroBiotechNews that it would not be disclosing any details on the economic feasibility of the process.
Using a fully equipped fermentation and downstream purification plant, BASF and PURAC will demonstrate the economical production of succinic acid on industrial scale. In the course of the process, renewable substrates will be broken down to glucose, which will be then efficiently transformed to succinate with the help of a facultative anaerobic bacterium isolated from bovine rumen content (more here). In addition, carbon dioxide will be fixed during the fermentation process, contributing to sustainable development. Biobased succinic acid will be applied as a monomeric building block in a variety of biopolymers, e.g. biodegradable polyesters, and to produce tetrahydrofuran, 1,4-butanediol, gamma-butyrolactone, and pyrrolidones. BASF hold a number of patents on the transformation of succinate into these established platform chemicals, allowing the integration of bio-based succinate into existing production processes.