PTTMCC Biochem (PTTMCC), a joint venture between PTT PLC and Mitsubishi Chemical, has selected BioAmber Inc. as its partner for a polybutylene succinate (PBS) plant that will begin construction in Thailand in 2012. BioAmber will build a biobased succinic acid plant in Thailand and supply PTTMCC with biobased succinic acid on an exclusive basis. Succinic acid is the principal starting material for the production of PBS, along with 1,4‐butanediol.
PTTMCC plans to take an interest in BioAmber’s succinic acid plant and secure off‐take for a portion of the plant’s capacity. The plant will be built in proximity to PTTMCC’s PBS plant, and both plants are expected to come online in 2014. After evaluating the various biosuccinic acid technologies, PTTMCC concluded that BioAmber’s platform offered the lowest cost biosuccinic acid and the lowest technology risk. By securing BioAmber’s cost competitive succinic acid, PTTMCC expects to drive down the manufacturing cost of biobased PBS, a renewable, biodegradable polymer that has significant growth potential and strong patent protection thanks to a recently issued Mitsubishi Chemical patent.
The partners have begun a feasibility study to determine the exact location of the succinic acid plant, which could be built next to the PBS plant at the Map Ta Phut site in Rayong. At peak capacity BioAmber expects to produce 65,000 MT of succinic acid on the site. BioAmber also plans to produce 50,000 MT of biobased 1,4‐butanediol on site, using its technology licensed exclusively from DuPont to convert biobased succinic acid directly to 1,4‐butanediol in an integrated process. PTTMCC will help BioAmber secure biomass for the plant, which will initially source sugar from cane and/or tapioca, and subsequently biomass sugars.
“BioAmber operates the world’s only large‐scale biobased succinic acid plant and is already Mitsubishi Chemical’s sole supplier of biobased succinic acid. BioAmber has proven the quality and cost of its biosuccinic acid and we have been working together for a number of months to further improve the technology,’” said Shigeru Handa, General Manager of Mitsubishi Chemical’s Sustainable Resources Business Development Department and a member of the PTTMCC board of directors. “Partnering with BioAmber will allow PTTMCC to have competitive biosuccinic acid from a local source by 2014,” he added.
“Securing the lowest cost succinic acid was a priority for PTTMCC,” said Worawat Pitayasiri, Managing Director of PTTMCC. “BioAmber’s commitment to building a large‐scale plant in Thailand will benefit our company and represents a major investment in Thailand by a leading US‐based renewable chemicals company,” he added. “This partnership is a testament to our market leadership in succinic acid. We are proud that PTTMCC Biochem has chosen BioAmber as the succinic acid supplier for its PBS venture,” added Jean‐Francois Huc, CEO of BioAmber. “With its strong patent portfolio, PTTMCC Biochem is poised to be the dominant player in biobased PBS and this partnership gives BioAmber a strong position in a fast growing segment of the biosuccinic acid market,” he added.
About BioAmber Inc.
BioAmber, a renewable chemistry company, is the market leader in the development and commercialization of biobased succinic acid and derivatives including modified PBS, a biodegradable plastic offering better heat resistance and processability than other biopolymers. BioAmber operates the world’s only large‐scale biobased succinic acid plant and has partnerships with market leaders including Cargill, DuPont Applied Biosciences, Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Chemical and PTTMCC Biochem. BioAmber is also leveraging its succinic acid experience and know‐how to develop a biobased adipic acid platform. The company has offices and research labs in Minneapolis, MN, an office in Montreal, a sales office in Shanghai, China and a production plant in Pomacle, France.
About PTT MCC Biochem Company Limited
PTT MCC Biochem was established to develop and produce Polybutylene Succinate or PBS, a biodegradable plastic that is derived from sugar with a lower carbon footprint than conventional plastics. The company is a joint venture between PTT Public Company Limited (PTT) of Thailand and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) of Japan with the shareholding proportion of 50% each. The company has the head office in Bangkok, and the plant site is expected to be in Map Ta Phut, Rayong, Thailand.
Source: BioAmber, press release, 2011-09-14.