Global Bioenergies and Fraunhofer CBP take the next step towards the set-up of the Leuna industrial pilot

Global Bioenergies Press Release /

Evry (France) and Munich (Germany) – July 3, 2014 – Global Bioenergies (Alternext Paris : ALGBE) and the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP announced today that they have signed the contract for the commissioning and the operation of Global Bioenergies' second industrial pilot plant to be built on the Leuna refinery site.

As part of the agreement, until September 2016 up to 13 operators of the Fraunhofer CBP will work on the up-scaling of Global Bioenergies’ process to convert renewable resources into isobutene, one of the key building blocks of the petrochemical industry. As previously announced, the project is supported by a EUR 5.7 million grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Designed for a production capacity of up to 100 tons per year, the industrial pilot plant in Leuna will combine two 5,000 liter fermenters and a complete purification system, mimicking all aspects of a commercial scale plant. It will lead to high-purity isobutene, usable for the manufacturing of plastics and elastomers as well as drop-in biofuels such as isooctane. This scale will enable the delivery of samples to industrialists, including Audi as part of the partnership signed with Global Bioenergies in January 2014.

“Signing this contract is another important step in transitioning the isobutene process from a breakthrough scientific innovation into a high-value industrial asset. The team is now complete: in addition to Linde, in charge of the engineering, Fraunhofer CBP represents a first class partner for the commissioning and the operation of this pilot plant.” said Thomas Buhl, Head of Business Development at Global Bioenergies.

Commenting on the agreement, Gerd Unkelbach, Head of the Fraunhofer CBP, added: “We highly appreciate to be part of the development of this sustainable process. The project fits very well in the infrastructure and the research focus of the CBP. Within our cooperation we support Global Bioenergies with know-how on scale-up of biotechnological and chemical processes.”

In June 2013, Global Bioenergies had already announced that its first industrial pilot will be part of the Pomacle-Bazancourt platform, the largest agri-business site in Europe located close to Reims, gathering major industrialists such as Cristal Union. This first pilot, to be run in collaboration with Arkema and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), is expected to start its operation in autumn this year. It will set the basis for large scale exploitation of the isobutene process in its application to produce methacrylic derivatives that can be used for paints and organic glass.