In Germany, Global Bioenergies has completed construction of a demonstration facility for direct fermentation of gaseous hydrocarbons.
The 100 tons/year facility, located at Fraunhofer CBP’s Leuna, Germany site, will convert sugars into high-purity isobutene, a platform molecule currently used to produce fuel additives isooctane, ethyl tert-butyl ether, and methyl tert-butyl ether. Isobutene is also used in the production of rubbers, plastics, paints, and cosmetics. Feedstock sources for Global Bioenergies’ process can include industrial-grade sugar from beets and cane; glucose syrup from cereals; and second-generation sugars extracted from wheat straw, bagasse, and wood chips.
“In the next months and years, our Leuna Demo plant will allow us to further validate the technology in an industrial environment and to deliver ton-scale batches to various industrialists,” says Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies. “We expect numerous new collaborations with industrialists to be set up once the Demo plant is in operations.”
The plant was financed through a €5.7 million grant from Germany’s federal ministry for research and a €4.4 million loan from a consortium of French banks, including Société Générale and BNP-Paribas. Construction began in mid-2015.