BASF and Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, are establishing a joint venture for the production and sale of biobased succinic acid. The company will be named Succinity GmbH and will be operational in 2013. The establishment of Succinity GmbH is subject to filing with the relevant competition authorities. The company headquarters will be in Düsseldorf, Germany.
BASF and CSM have been conducting research on succinic acid under a joint development agreement since 2009. The complementary strengths in fermentation and downstream processing led to the development of a sustainable and highly efficient manufacturing process based on a proprietary microorganism. The bacterium used is Basfia succiniciproducens, which produces succinic acid through natural processes. It is capable of metabolizing a variety of renewable feedstocks into succinic acid. The new process combines high efficiency with the use of renewable raw materials and the fixation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the production of succinic acid. This makes biobased succinic acid an economically and ecologically attractive alternative to petrochemical raw materials.
The demand for succinic acid is anticipated to grow strongly in the years ahead, driven mainly by bioplastics, chemical intermediates, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticizers.
BASF and CSM are currently modifying an existing fermentation facility at Purac’s Montmélo site near Barcelona, Spain, for the production of succinic acid. This plant, which will commence operations in late 2013 with an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons of succinic acid, will put the new joint venture company in a leading position in the global marketplace. This is complemented by plans for a second large-scale facility with an annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons of succinic acid to enable the company to respond to the expected increase in demand. The final investment decision for this facility will be made following a successful market introduction.
“Our strategy clearly focuses on innovations for a sustainable future. Chemistry-driven innovations are the responses to megatrends, such as the shift to renewable raw materials. The development of a succinic acid production process based on fermentation in cooperation with Purac is a good example of this strategy being put into practice,” said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, Member of the Board of Executive Directors and Research Executive Director of BASF.
“CSM is developing into a leading provider of biobased ingredients and solutions. Our joint venture with BASF for the production and sale of succinic acid is a milestone in this journey. The succinic acid project is fully in line with our strategy to develop commercially attractive biobased alternatives using renewable and sustainable resources,” explained Gerard Hoetmer, Chief Executive Officer of CSM.
“Our cooperation with Purac to produce biobased succinic acid is a perfect example of how we enable our customers in many industries to develop sustainable solutions,” said Sanjeev Gandhi, President of BASF’s Intermediates division.
“We know from many discussions with customers and samples we sent them that the demand for biobased succinic acid for example for biodegradable plastics is set to grow faster and more strongly than expected earlier,” said Fabrizio Rampinelli, President of Purac, and added, “We look forward to providing a high-quality product globally to customers in this industry at our usual high service levels.”