Wheat straw transformed into bio-isobutene – precursor for chemicals

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In California, the EU-funded OPTISOCHEM project researchers have made strides in converting wheat residues, an agricultural waste, into valuable bio-isobutene, or bio-IBN which is a key precursor for numerous chemicals.

“The project involves several processes such as the conversion of wheat straw into hydrolysate and its fermentation into isobutene. This material is then converted into oligomers and polymers,” according to Cordis.

A press release by project coordinator Global Bioenergies states that “currently underutilized residual wheat straw has been converted at demo scale into second generation renewable bio-isobutene, and will eventually be transformed into oligomers and polymers usable in lubricants, rubbers, cosmetics, solvents, plastics, or fuels applications.”

Jean-François Boideau, EMEA Commercial General Manager at project partner INEOS Oligomers, said in the press release, “To date, we received several batches of bio-isobutene from Global Bioenergies for qualification purpose[s], and the quality is promising. During the next phase of the project, INEOS is ready to evaluate conversion of additional quantities of bio-isobutene into downstream products in order to assess the potential of this bio-based feedstock as a building block for end consumer applications.”