AFYREN, Genomatica, Novamont and Chaincraft driving force behind new biotech solutions

Sustainable chemicals

Corporate action on climate change is partly driven by a desire to get ahead of upcoming legislation. Reputation is also a major factor: it never hurts to be seen as a leader. But the bottom line is that markets will reward — and eventually demand — climate-friendly products and services, so it is important to understand how each solution can help to reduce or even avoid carbon emissions completely. The bioeconomy, byrenewable raw materials instead of fossil resources, helps mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from fossil carbon in the atmosphere and capturing more carbon in the biosphere.

 

Crédit Agricole - Le Crédit Agricole soutient Afyren, pionnier de la chimie verte

 

Innovative biotech solutions

Today, innovative and agile start-ups such as AFYRENGenomaticaNovamont and Chaincraft B.V. are the driving force behind the introduction of new biotech solutions. Some are developing new technologies to produce chemicals in a more sustainable way. They either use alternative raw materials made from renewable biomass and agricultural by-products or they achieve significant reductions in energy consumption while operating existing production processes. Biobased “green chemistry” uses new methods to offer the same molecules as the conventional fossil-based processes with a significantly lower carbon footprint.

AFYREN

AFYREN offers a wide range of drop-in replacement molecules that are 100% biobased, created in a fully circular production process, and based on a local sourcing approach. AFYREN NEOXY is the first production facility to implement AFYREN’s Technology and know-how. Located at the CHEMESIS industrial platform in Carling Saint-Avold, it produces a family of 7 organic acids. The unique, environmentally friendly technology transforms agricultural byproducts into valuable chemical building blocks, such as acetic, propioninc and butyric acid. With this holistic strategy, AFYREN is able to offer companies from all industries low carbon solutions to help them reach or even exceed their ambitious carbon emission targets.

Chaincraft

Chaincraft is building on nature’s principles and has developed a platform technology to produce sustainable and circular fatty acids for the agrifood and chemical & materials industries. In our unique biotechnological process different types of organic residues are robustly converted into a number of short and medium chain fatty acids, such as butyric, valeric and caprylic acid.

The so-called ‘chain elongation technology’ is ChainCraft’s first commercial scale proven technology. Building upon the wide variety of possibilities which open mixed culture fermentation bring, we are developing other innovative processes and products to be able to contribute to a circular and sustainable chemical industry.

Genomatica
Genomatica uses biotechnology to develop commercial biobased processes to make widely-used chemicals that enable better, more sustainable everyday products. That enables leading brands and partners to offer better food packaging, auto parts, clothing, tires, carpets, cosmetic ingredients, cleaning products and more. 
Genomatica has commercialized processes for bio-BDO (for plastics) with partners such as Cargill and Novamont, and for biobased butylene glycol (for cosmetics); Genomatica’s technology drives the world’s first commercial-scale biobased plant for a major intermediate chemical and is working on polyamide intermediates (nylon), and on long-chain chemicals (cleaning products, to replace palm oil as feedstock). 
Novamont
Through a new sustainable development model, Novamont promotes the transition from a product economy to a system economy, relying on the valorization of local areas and on products that can redesign entire application sectors, reducing the costs of environmental and social externalities. Novamont is producing biobased oils (MATROL BI), esters for cosmetics (CELUS-BI), biodegradable plastics (MATER-BI) and polymers (ORIGO-BI) and, through its sister company MaterBiotech, bio-BDO.

Bioeconomy and Climate Change

Global warming

The global warming that we have been experiencing for years now is caused by a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions. While the emission of these gases is a natural phenomenon of life on our planet, human activities in recent decades have been adding inexorably more greenhouse gas, negatively impacting the climate. The bioeconomy, by using renewable raw materials instead of fossil resources, helps mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from fossil carbon in the atmosphere and capturing more carbon in the biosphere.

 

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Genomatica licenced its GENO BDO® process to Cargill

Investment to bring installed biobased BDO capacity to 100 ktons

Genomatica, a leader in enabling clean manufacturing, announced it has licensed its GENO BDO® biomanufacturing process technology to Cargill, which is using it in its newly-announced joint venture with HELM, Qore, to produce renewable 1,4-butanediol (BDO). The technology for the BDO production facility will be a part of the recently announced $300M investment by Cargill and HELM at the biotechnology campus in Eddyville, Iowa. With the completion of this facility in 2024, Genomatica’s technology will enable a combined, global production capacity of over 100,000 tons per year of renewable BDO. Companies around the world are rapidly rethinking their supply chains to meet increasing consumer and investor demand for responsible, transparent and sustainable sourcing of performance materials.

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Enzymes

What are enzymes?

Enzymes are natural proteins that act as catalysts for biochemical reactions. When one substance needs to be transformed into another, nature uses enzymes to speed up the process. In our stomachs for example, enzymes break down food into tiny particles to be converted into energy. But enzymes are also used in numerous applications within the food, feed, household and industrial fields.

Enzyme

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Biorefineries are boosting the bio-based industries across Europe

Flagship Biorefineries

Since 2014, Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) has funded 11 flagship biorefineries in Europe,  leveraging €1.3 billion in private investments to support the design and construction of the biorefineries, creating 3,500 new direct jobs and 10,000 indirect ones. Projects that have received funding include FARMŸNG, Exilva Cellulose Fibrils, First2Run, AgriChemWhey, PEFerence, AFTER-BIOCHEM, SWEETWOODS, Plenitude, Resolute, abacus, and Lignoflag.

 

BBIJU

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Biorefinery

What is a biorefinery?

A biorefinery is a refinery that converts biomass to energy and other beneficial byproducts (such as chemicals). The International Energy Agency defined biorefining as “the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of bio-based products (food, feed, chemicals, materials) and bioenergy (biofuels, power and/or heat)”. As refineries, biorefineries can provide multiple chemicals by fractioning an initial raw material (biomass) into multiple intermediates (carbohydrates, proteins, triglycerides) that can be further converted into value-added products. Each refining phase is also referred to as a “cascading phase”. The use of biomass as feedstock can provide a benefit by reducing the impacts on the environment, as lower pollutants emissions and reduction in the emissions of hazard products.

 

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Avantium making progress towards investment in Delfzijl plant

Avantium: a leading company in renewable chemistry

Avantium, a leading technology company in renewable chemistry, has completed the application validation for its plant-based glycols plantMEG™ and plantMPG™ produced in the Ray Technology™ demonstration plant in Chemie Park Delfzijl. Key applications include polymerisation to PEF and PET polyesters and functional fluids used for de-icing and heat transfer. Consequently, proving the functional performance of the plant-based glycols is an important step in the scale-up of the Ray Technology™. Both plantMEG and plantMPG are expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to their fossil-based equivalents.

 

Avantium

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Wood-based foam to replace Styrofoam and other plastics

Smart Foams project

The Smart Foams research project at Aalto University uses artificial intelligence to develop wood-based foams. Wood-based foam materials can replace Styrofoam and bubble wrap in packaging, for example. The researchers strive to optimize the properties of the foam. A mixture of lignin, wood fibre and laponite (nanoclay), for example, can be processed into shock and heat resistant foam and used instead of plastic.

Lignin binder

Lignin is the compound that binds wood fibres together. As a dried foam it is hard and water resistant and even conducts electricity.

 

Wood based foam

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Plastic Energy, ExxonMobil plan for joint recycling project

Post-consumer plastic waste recycling project

Plastic Energy is collaborating with ExxonMobil on an advanced recycling project in France that will convert post-consumer plastic waste into raw materials for the manufacturing of virgin polymers. The project is expected to be one of the largest advanced recycling plants in Europe, with an initial capacity of 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year.

Plastic Energy and ExxonMobil have been developing plans since 2018. A final investment decision is expected in mid-2021 with startup anticipated in 2023. The plan demonstrates how industry, government and consumers can work together to build a more circular system to capture value from post-use plastic.

 

Plastic recycling

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