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Global Bioenergies successfully scales up C3 process

Global Bioenergies announces a new milestone in the scale-up of its process for converting renewable resources into isopropanol and acetone. These two bio-sourced compounds target major markets in cosmetics and solvents. They can also be converted into polypropylene, a key component in the $70 billion plastics industry. An initial pilot test was successfully completed in December 2017. A demonstrator test corresponding to a new scale-up by a factor of 20 has now been successfully completed, paving the way for a first commercial plant.
The C3 process, which enables the production of renewable isopropanol and acetone, is the second process in the Global Bioenergies portfolio to reach industrial demonstrator scale. This process is based on a breakthrough innovation: bacteria with a metabolism redesigned to maximize the use of sugars, and thus reduce the production costs of bio-sourced compounds.
Isopropanol and acetone are two compounds used by numerous industries (solvents, materials, cosmetics), and can be converted into propylene, then polypropylene, one of the main compounds in the plastics industry, with a market worth over 70 billion dollars.
The market demand for bio-sourced products, including green polypropylene, stems from the environmental commitments made by major manufacturers in fields such as food, cosmetics, toys and furniture.
ARD, which already operates Global Bioenergies' industrial pilot for the Isobutene process, had conducted the first scale-up stage of this isopropanol and acetone production process at the end of 2017.
The next phase, corresponding to the demonstration scale, was subcontracted to Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF), based in Delft, the Netherlands. ARD and BPF are both members of the Smartpilots consortium, which brings together the main European institutions focused on scaling up innovative processes.
An initial test was successfully carried out: the results obtained in the laboratory and pilot were reproduced in a 4 m3 fermenter.

Frédéric Pâques, Chief Operating Officer of Global Bioenergies, comments: "The close collaboration between the Global Bioenergies and BPF teams has been one of the keys to our success. We are very satisfied with BPF's responsiveness and industrial experience. The results not only validated this scale-up stage of our process, but also demonstrated its robustness. ".

Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies, adds: "This fermentation scale is the last before commercial-scale operation. We still have a number of validations to do, and engineering work has only recently begun, but we are already in discussions with major international manufacturers about the commercial deployment of this process. The C3 process is now Global Bioenergies' second pillar of value creation, after the Isobutene process. "

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