Genomatica and Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) signed a joint development agreement for the demonstration-scale production of Genomatica’s Bio-BDO (1,4-butanediol). The Genomatica process produces the same BDO product that is currently made from a variety of petroleum-derived feedstocks, but uses 100% renewable feedstocks instead. BDO, an intermediate chemical with a $4 billion market worldwide, is used to make spandex (PTMEG), automotive plastics (PBT), running shoes, insulation (TPU), and high-value downstream derivatives.
Under the agreement, Tate & Lyle will dedicate a demonstration-scale production facility in Decatur, Illinois, for exclusive use by Genomatica for the scale-up of the Bio-BDO process. Genomatica is ramping its process to 13,000-liter fermenters followed by an integrated downstream process for BDO recovery and purification. The demonstration plant is co-located with a corn wet mill owned and operated by Tate & Lyle, providing ready access to a cost-effective, renewable feedstock. The expansion and operation of the Tate & Lyle demo facility is expected to create 25 local jobs in Decatur. With engineering already underway, fermentations are expected to begin the second quarter of this year followed by fully-integrated plant operations in the third quarter.
Direct path to full-scale production, with partner that has done it before
The BDO produced by the plant will be used for large-volume sampling to BDO customers eager to serve market-leading brands and retailers with green, sustainably-produced polymers and materials. This product will be allocated to leading chemical companies who have made a commitment to future off-take contracts. Successful operation at demonstration scale will validate the design and basic engineering package for construction of the first commercial-scale plant.
Tate & Lyle sees potential for higher value from existing bulk ingredient assets
“We are excited to be working with Genomatica on moving toward the first commercialization of Bio-BDO,” said Matt Wineinger, President, Bulk Ingredients, Tate & Lyle. “We believe that Genomatica’s technology and their team’s deep BDO business experience and success, combined with our fermentation and operations capabilities, will be very competitive in the BDO market and be the preferred approach to making Bio-BDO.”
Genomatica leverages plant, process expertise, and feedstock
“It’s a natural partnership and an ideal fit,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “Tate & Lyle brings a successful track record in scaling bio-chemical manufacturing processes; stable, preferential access to cost-effective feedstock; and investment in our joint operations. We’re focused on working with Tate & Lyle and other partners to transform the chemical industry – using renewable inputs instead of fossil fuels to make the same products, while delivering superior profitability compared to conventional petrochemical businesses and a smaller environmental footprint.”
Rapid progress toward full commercialization
The partnership with Tate & Lyle marks continued rapid progress for Genomatica toward full commercialization of its first product, Bio-BDO, which Genomatica has been successfully producing at pilot scale in 3,000-liter fermentation tanks since the first half of 2010.
To date, Genomatica has achieved productivity, yield and titer at lab scale that would allow cost competitiveness with the best petro-based BDO cash costs in North America. In 2011, Genomatica plans to achieve the overall Bio-BDO process performance needed to deliver compelling project rates of return for commercial plants, with the first world-scale plant to be operational in late 2013.
Genomatica is the emerging leader in sustainable chemicals: ‘greener’ intermediate and basic chemicals made from renewable feedstocks, rather than oil and gas. The company aims to transform the chemical industry through cost-advantaged, smaller-footprint products as direct replacements in a trillion-dollar market. Genomatica was named one of “10 Big Green Ideas” by Newsweek, and was featured on Forbes.com.
Genomatica has been successfully producing its first product, Bio-BDO, at pilot-scale since the first half of 2010. BDO, an intermediate chemical with a $4 billion market worldwide, is used to make spandex, automotive plastics, running shoes and more. Genomatica is now moving to demonstration-scale production through a strategic partnership with Tate & Lyle.
Genomatica’s integrated bio-process engineering platform and extensive intellectual property allow it to rapidly develop organisms and processes to produce dozens of the most significant intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks, like sugars, and later, from biomass and syngas.
Genomatica has raised $84 million from investors including Alloy Ventures, Bright Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mohr Davidow Ventures, TPG Biotech, VantagePoint Venture Partners and Waste Management.
About Tate & Lyle
Tate & Lyle is a global provider of ingredients and solutions to the food, beverage and other industries, operating from 30 production facilities around the world. Through our large-scale, efficient manufacturing plants, we turn raw materials into distinctive, high quality ingredients for our customers. Our ingredients and solutions add taste, texture, nutrition and increased functionality to products that millions of people around the world use or consume every day.
Tate & Lyle’s range of leading branded food ingredients includes SPLENDA® Sucralose, PROMITOR™ Dietary Fiber and STA-LITE® Polydextrose. Tate & Lyle also produces branded industrial ingredients including Bio-PDO™, Ethylex® and Sta-Lok® paper starches; and staple ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, ethanol, citric acid and basic starches. In addition to providing a wide range of ingredients our Innovation and Commercial Development Group supports customers by providing product development, technical advice and proprietary consumer insight studies.
Tate & Lyle is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol TATE.L. American Depositary Receipts trade under TATYY. In the year to 31 March 2010, Tate & Lyle employed 5,666 people in its subsidiaries and joint ventures, and sales totaled £3.50 billion.
SPLENDA® is a trademark of McNeil Nutritionals, LLC.
Emily Douglas, (Genomatica)
10520 Wateridge Circle
San Diego, CA 92121
Source: Genomatica, Inc., press release, 2011-03-15.