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Sustainability drives chemical production expansion for BioAmber and Mitsui

By Pooja Kondhia , 14-Nov-2011

Minnesota-based chemicals manufacturer BioAmber has partnered with Japanese firm Mitsui to build bio-succinic acid and 1, 4 butanediol (BDO) facilities targeting consumer demand for sustainable cosmetics and personal care products.

The deal sees investment in a production plant in Ontario, Canada to serve the North American market, which is initially expected to produce 17,000 metric tons of bio-succinic acid and 23,000 metric tons of BDO.

Bio-succinic acid is bio-based, made from renewable feed-stocks like agricultural crops and the plant developments reflect the trend to natural ingredients”, Babette Pettersen, senior vice president marketing and sales, BioAmber told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Market demand for renewable chemicals and materials is growing and consumer interest high. Recent reports suggest that as much as 50 percent of all chemicals will be renewable by 2020.”

She added that as an ingredient used in personal care applications, bio-succinic acid’s main use is in esters for natural emollients and surfactants.

Commercial production at the Ontario plant is set to commence in 2013 with the on-site capacity to be expanded over time to 35,000 metric tons of bio-succinic acid.

A further investment in Thailand targeting the local and surrounding Asia-Pacific region is projected to commence production in 2014.

According to Pettersen, the Thai plant will focus on supplying bio-succinic acid for the manufacture of polybutylene succinate biopolymer (PBS), which is a biodegradable plastic.

A feasibility study, which is an analysis and evaluation of the business to determine if it is technically feasible within the estimated cost, and will be profitable, is currently being undertaken in Thailand as well as planning for a third plant in either Brazil or North America.

All three production facilities will have a total capacity of 165,000 tons of bio-succinic acid and 123,000 tons of BDO, according to BioAmber.

BioAmber declined to disclose the total amount to be invested but stated it is the major shareholder in the plants.

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