BASF & CSM form joint venture
08.10.2012 - German chemicals giant and Dutch CSM daughter Purac have formed a
50/50 joint venture to produce and market biobased succinic acid.
The largest chemical firm of the world, BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Gemany), and the leading producer of biobased lactic acid, Purac NV (Diemen, The Netherlands), a subsidiary of Dutch CSM, have formed a joint venture. After three years of testing of a novel fermentation process on pre-industrial scale at Purac’s production site in Montmélo near Barcelona, Succinity GmbH is going to start the production and sale of biobased succinic acid from 2013 . Succinity, which will be headquartered in Düsseldorf Germany, will be the third player in the market for biologically produced succinic acid, an important chemical building block for making 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO), tetrahydrofuran (THF) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL). These bulk chemicals are needed for making polyesters, polyurethanes, spandex and biodegradable plastics with a global market value of more than $4bn.
BASF and CSM are currently expand Purac’s fermentation facility to deliver an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons of succinic acid from late 2013. This is complemented by plans for a second large-scale facility with an annual capacity of 50,000 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, according to the companies.
Despite stiff competition from Reverdia, a joint-venture of Dutch DSM and French Roquette, and US-headquartered BioAmber Inc., BASF wants to take a leading position in the market. „The market is large enough for all players“, said BASF spokesman Holger Kapp to EuroBiotechNews. Earlier this year, Reverdia announced it will start biosuccinate production at the end of 2012. At the beginning of 2011, BioAmber had already started production of 2,000 metric tons of biosuccinate at its French production site in Pomacle and has since then expanded its production and its capacities to produce 1,4-BDO. However, BASF has brought in a unique production technology. Its proprietary microorganism Basfia succiniciproducens can make biobased succinic acid either from plant-made sugars or by glycerol, a waste product form biodiesel production. This might give Succinity a competitive edge over the competitor’s technologies that can only convert crop- or plant-made sugars.