GranBio, Rhodia team up for bio n-butanol

Monday, August 12, 2013

GranBio, a Brazilian biotechnology company, and Rhodia, part of Belgian chemical group Solvay, have signed an agreement to create a partnership to produce bio n-butanol in Brazil.

The bio n-butanol will be made from sugarcane straw and bagasse, the same raw material that is used to manufacture ethanol and other biochemicals in Brazil.

Under the partnership, the companies plan to build the world's first biomass-based n-butanol plant in Brazil, which will enter into operation in 2015.

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"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," Bernardo Gradin, CEO of GranBio, said in a statement.

"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," Vincent Kamel, CEO of Coatis, a Solvay Group business unit based in Brazil, said.

An essential chemical in the production of acrylates and methacrylates, n-butanol is widely used in the paint and solvent industries, in which Solvay is the market leader in South America.

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.