Global Bioenergies (IBB network member) announces having succeeded in the production of bio-sourced propylene by direct fermentation. It is the first time ever an entirely biological production process – i.e. without any chemical step – is reported for propylene, a central building block for themanufacturing of plastics. After isobutene in 2010 and butadiene earlier this year, Global Bioenergies announced on 8th December having created a proprietary prototype strain able to convert glucose into propylene at laboratory scale. This is the first time ever such a direct biological production of propylene has been reported. Over 80 million metric tons of propylene are produced yearly, corresponding to a market exceeding 100 billion dollars – the second largest of the petrochemical industry after ethylene. It is a key building block for the manufacturing of different plastics – polypropylene for example accounts for more than half of the plastics used in the car industry. Propylene is so far only produced through fossil resources and principally obtained from naphtha cracking. Thomas Buhl, Head of Business Development at Global Bioenergies comments: “Because of the decrease in naphtha cracking capacities, there is a need for alternative routes to light olefins, and in particular to propylene. By developing this process to bio-propylene, we are contributing to building a better world, sustainable and environment friendly.”
Global Bioenergies is one of the few companies worldwide, and the only one in Europe, that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation. The Company initially focused its efforts on the production of isobutene, one of the most important petrochemical building blocks that can be converted into fuels, plastics, organic glass and elastomers. Global Bioenergies continues to improve the yield of its process and recently announced success with first testing in its industrial pilot. The company also replicated its achievement to propylene and butadiene two members of the gaseous olefins family, key molecules at the heart of petrochemical industry. Source: Global Bioenergies S.A.