FIP – Fermentative Production of Isobutene

Isobutene is currently commercially obtained exclusively from fossil sources, mainly petroleum. Isobutene is an important platform chemical for the production of transparent polymers, butyl rubber and, above all, fuel additives. The process studied in this project allows for the first time the production of isobutene from renewable raw materials. Furthermore, it is possible to use isobutene for the production of isooctane, which is a main component of gasoline fuels. In fact the octane rating is one of the key performance measures of gasoline fuels. A cost‑effective, bio based production process for isobutene therefore makes it possible to produce fuel additives, which both reduce the emission of fossil CO2 and improve the quality of the fuel.

The process is based on the direct fermentative production of gaseous isobutene from sugars using genetically modified microorganisms. The metabolic pathway from sugars to isobutene is not found in nature and has been artificially developed by scientists of the company Global Bioenergies using molecular biology methods.

The aim of the project “Fermentative Isobutene Production“ is to transfer the process to pre‑industrial scale. In the FIP project, a demonstration plant with a nominal capacity of 100 tonnes per year will be designed and constructed and the production process will be scaled up to a fermentation volume of 5000 liters.

Project information

Project title

FIP –  Fermentative Production of Isobutene


Project duration

October 2013 – July 2017


Project partners

  • GLOBAL BIOENERGIES GmbH (Coordination)


We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Project Management Jülich (PTJ), for funding the project “FIP“, project n° 031A292, within the leading edge cluster BioEconomy.