BASF, Purac to form biobased succinic acid JV


BASF and CSM subsidiary Purac are planning to form a joint venture (JV), called Succinity, in Düsseldorf, Germany, to produce and sell biobased succinic acid.

"BASF and CSM are presently restructuring an existing fermentation facility at Purac's Montmélo site near Barcelona, Spain."

Since 2009, the companies have been conducting research on succinic acid under a joint development agreement, which led to the development of a sustainable and efficient manufacturing process based on the bacterium Basfia succiniciproducens, that produces succinic acid through natural processes.

The bacterium is also capable of metabolising a variety of renewable feedstocks and carbon dioxide into succinic acid and also uses (CO2) to produce succinic acid through the same process.

BASF and CSM are presently restructuring an existing fermentation facility at Purac's Montmélo site near Barcelona, Spain, to produce 10,000mts of succinic acid, along with the proposal for a second facility with an annual capacity of 50,000mt of succinic acid to complement the first plant.

BASF research executive director and board of executive directors member Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer said chemistry-driven innovations are a response 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," Kreimeyer added.

CSM chief executive officer Gerard Hoetmer said: "The succinic acid project is fully in line with our strategy to develop commercially attractive biobased alternatives using renewable and sustainable resources."

The demand for succinic acid is expected to grow in the coming years due to an increased need for bioplastics, chemical intermediates, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticisers, according to the company.

Purac president Fabrizio Rampinelli said: "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."

The new company is expected to be operational in 2013.