Roquette, the 5th largest starch manufacturer in the world, emphasises the industrial and commercial successes resulting from the BioHub® programme, supported by Bpifrance since 2006, and announces its closure.
Throughout this programme Roquette and its partners have developed innovative solutions for the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets.
A programme at the service of innovation
Launched in 2006 and essentially focused on breakthrough projects, the BioHub® programme has initiated several industrial developments: isosorbide and biosuccinic acid for the manufacture of performance plastics and the isosorbide diesters used as plasticizers. Thanks to all these new solutions, new innovative materials are in the process of being marketed.
In order to bring this programme to a successful conclusion, ROQUETTE, the leader of BioHub®, brought together numerous private sector and public partners: ARKEMA (France), DSM (Netherlands), BASF (formerly COGNIS, Germany), SOLVAY (France), TERGAL FIBRES (France), SIDEL (France), EUROVIA/VINCI (France), METABOLIC EXPLORER (France), INSA Lyon and Rouen (France), IMMCL Lille (CNRS), RICE UNIVERSITY (USA).
Faster Industrial developments thanks to the backing of Bpifrance
Bpifrance’s support provided in the form of subsidies and recoverable advances in the context of an Industrial Innovation Mobilization Programme (PMII) has enabled the development and production of new chemicals using renewable agricultural materials, such as cereals, transformed thanks to of new chemical and biotechnological processes.
This support, provided in difficult circumstances linked to the slowing down of the economy and the fall in the prices of fossil-based raw materials, contributed to Roquette’s decision to make major industrial investments resulting from this programme.
New offers meeting the needs of the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets
This programme led to the development of POLYSORB® isosorbide enabling polymers to be endowed with exceptional properties, in particular an increased heat resistance and excellent transparency and U.V. resistance. The POLYSORB® isosorbide is a valuable solution for the performance plastics markets.
Thanks to solid technological expertise resulting from over eight years of targeted studies in various fields, an industrial production process for very high purity isosorbide was perfected.
Roquette then invested in and recently inaugurated at the beginning of 2015 in Lestrem (France) a 20,000 tonnes/year isosorbide production unit. Roquette is now the world leader for isosorbide for the plastics and chemistry specialty markets.
The biosuccinic acid project is based on an innovative and unique biotechnology using yeast. Following the setting up of the joint-venture Reverdia (DSM / Roquette 50/50), the project has resulted in an industrial production unit of 10,000 tonnes/year located on the Roquette site in Cassano (Italy). This fully operational unit offers the market a product that fully meets the expectations of the customers in the polymer sectors.
Christophe Rupp Dahlem, the Roquette Plant-Based Chemistry R&D Vice President, concludes: “The BioHub® programme, launched in 2006, was the first programme on a European scale backed by Bpifrance and providing new biobased solutions for the automotive, construction and packaging markets. The advances obtained confirm once more the Group’s determination to establish privileged relationships with its customers».
For Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Bpifrance in charge of Innovation: « With Bpifrance actively involved in the energy and environmental transition, we are delighted with the success of the BioHub® programme. Roquette succeeded in bringing together several partners right from the start and throughout all the development stages resulting in the production of biobased products that satisfy the market needs while at the same time providing an alternative to petrochemical products».