“The GENO BG process marks our entry into specialty chemicals, complementing our leadership in intermediates,” says Christophe Schilling, Genomatica’s CEO in a press release circulated late last week. “GENO BG is another example of how quickly we can commercialize our bioengineering innovations and enable products with better performance and greater sustainability.”
What Shilling refers to as GENO BG is the company’s biotech process for producing butylene glycol. Rather than using inputs derived from fossil fuel “Genomatica’s biobased butylene glycol is made via fermentation, starting from natural, sustainable, plant-based ingredients,” according to the company release.
Genomatica rightly believes that “this approach has the potential for high appeal in personal care products.”
As with many bio-based versions of specialty chemicals, the butylene glycol that Genomatica is making with its GENO BG process is purportedly better than the fossil-fuel-derived alternative.
“Genomatica has leveraged the power and selectivity of biology to create a process that produces a distinctively pure product as compared to fossil fuel-derived, chemistry-based processes,” explains the company. “Product purity and performance, plus a simpler process design that is readily deployed at large scale, also have the potential for additional market applications in everyday wellness products.”
Over the course of Genomatica’s nearly 30 years in the bioengineering business, the company has developed numerous technologies and even won some notable awards, such as the Kirkpatrick Award, for “the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized in the world,” and was just this month named as a finalist for the 2017 ICIS Innovation Awards.
This latest tech was developed under wraps and quite quickly, according to the company. First the technology to make butylene glycol was worked out on a small scale, and now with this announcement it’s happening at commercial scale: “The GENO BG process has already produced biobased butylene glycol for sampling and Genomatica has transferred the process to 85,000 liter production fermenters.”