GranBio, a Brazilian biotechnology company, and Rhodia, a Solvay Group company, have signed an agreement to create a partnership dedicated to the production of bio n-butanol. Bio n-butanol is made from sugar cane straw and bagasse, the same raw material that is used to manufacture secondgeneration ethanol, and which is abundant in Brazil.
Under the partnership the companies plan to build the world’s first biomass-based nbutanol plant in Brazil, which is to enter operation in 2015. Both companies will benefit from agreements that each of them has already entered into with companies that own the technology.
The project is a key step for GranBio and Rhodia in the manufacturing of chemicals made from renewable sources. “The partnership with Rhodia is fully aligned with our business partnership model and our strategy to develop solutions that can replace fossil fuels and chemicals with renewable products,” says Bernardo Gradin, CEO of GranBio.
“This innovative project reflects our focus on technologies based on renewable resources, and the partnership with Brazil’s GranBio demonstrates our confidence in the country’s great potential in this field,” says Vincent Kamel, CEO of Coatis, a Solvay Group business unit based in Brazil.
An essential chemical in the production of acrylates and methacrylates, n-butanol is widely used in the paint and solvent industry, in which Solvay is South America’s market leader.
The investment in the biomass-based n-butanol plant requires the approval of the companies’ boards. The structure of the agreement is to be submitted for clearance by Brazil’s antitrust body, CADE.
GranBio is a Brazilian company, controlled by Gran Investimentos, a holding company owned by the Gradin family. The company focuses on pioneering in biofuels and biochemicals. As a biotechnology company, GranBio develops proprietary technologies and strategic alliances to be scaled industrially in Brazil. Its second generation (2G) ethanol plant in Alagoas, one of the world’s first, will enter operation in early 2014. In a R$ 350 million investment, nominal production capacity will be 82 million liters per year.
Coatis, a Solvay Group global business unit, is a leading Latin American manufacturer of phenol, derivatives, and oxygenated solvents, which play an important role in such sectors as the civil construction, automotive, adhesive, paint and industrial coating industries. In line with the Group’s growth strategy, Coatis has a prominent position in sustainable development, a strong presence in emerging countries, a competitive portfolio in the markets it operates in, and access to renewable raw materials, such as ethanol and glycerol.
As an international chemical group, Solvay assists the industry in finding and implementing increasingly responsible and value-creating solutions. The Group is strongly committed to sustainable development and clearly focused on innovation and operational excellence. Serving various markets, Solvay earns 90% of its revenues in activities in which it is among the best three companies worldwide. The group, which is headquartered in Brussels and employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries, earned € 12.4 billion in 2012.Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB – Reuters: SOLBt.BR).
Source: GranBio, press release, 2013-08-12.