Global Bioenergies and Clariant produce isobutene from wheat straw at industrial pilot scale

Global Bioenergies and Clariant have started isobutene production from a wheat straw hydrolysate in the industrial pilot of Pomacle Bazancourt.

The project combines Clariant’s proprietary process, allowing for the conversion of agricultural residues into sugar-rich hydrolysates, with Global Bioenergies’ proprietary process for the production of isobutene from various industrial-grade sugars.

Clariant has produced the wheat straw hydrolysate, rich in non-food/non-feed second generation sugar, in its Straubing facility in Germany.

The pre-commercial plant can provide large amounts of such sugars and transforms them into ethanol using the Sunliquid process, with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes of ethanol per year.

The hydrolysate was converted into renewable isobutene in Global Bioenergies’ industrial pilot operated by ARD in its Pomacle Bazancourt facility.

The production of isobutene opens the door for a more general use of second generation sugars beyond the ethanol market.

Global Bioenergies has developed a process allowing for the production of bio-based isobutene by fermentation of various industrial-grade sugars.

Isooctane, a derivative of isobutene, is an ideal additive for petrol as it has an octane rating of 100 and a low vapour pressure, which provide better engine performance and lower environmental impact.

The now piloted method was first announced in 2015 after a first round of tests at a laboratory-scale using various non-food/non-feed sugars, including samples provided by Clariant.

Scaling-up this approach in Pomacle is an important milestone towards an integrated process from agricultural residues to isobutene.

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