LanzaTech, Invista to develop bio-based butadiene technologies

Specialty chemical producer Invista and China-based biotechnology firm LanzaTech have signed a joint development agreement on bio-based butadiene.

"A direct single step procedure will also be developed to directly manufacture butadiene through a process of gas fermentation."

As part of the agreement, Invista and LanzaTech will develop one-step and two-step technologies to convert industrial waste gas, carbon monoxide into butadiene.

The initial commercialisation of the process is expected in 2016, according to Invista.

The collaboration initially will manufacture butadiene in a two-step process from LanzaTech CO-derived 2,3-butanediol (2,3 BDO).

A direct single step procedure will also be developed to directly manufacture butadiene through a process of gas fermentation.

The companies will also collaborate to develop tools that will extend the technology to directly produce other industrial chemicals, including nylon intermediates from carbon monoxide containing waste gases by using LanzaTech's gas fermentation technology and biochemical platform.

Invista is building internal biotechnical capability to develop biological routes to its feedstocks and products.

Butadiene is used to produce synthetic rubber and various plastics and an intermediate chemical used by Invista in its proprietary, butadiene-based adiponitrile (ADN) production technologies.

Bill Greenfield, Invista nylon intermediates business executive vice president, said as Invista seeks innovative solutions to increase the global supply of butadiene, the company believes developing a cost competitive biological route to butadiene will help a good supply and reduce price volatility.

"We believe this collaboration effort is a great opportunity to leverage our own internal biotechnical research with the unique and impressive capabilities that LanzaTech has developed," Greenfield added.

Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech CEO, said the collaboration is a next step towards LanzaTech's vision of a diversified fuels and chemical portfolio.

"Joining forces with Invista's world-class research team will enable us to accelerate the commercialisation of a biological route to butadiene, further demonstrating that gas fermentation is an important route for the production of both fuels and chemicals," Holmgren added.