Cristal Union, Global Bioenergies to produce biobased isobutene

By Global Bioenergies | May 22, 2015

Cristal Union and Global Bioenergies have announced the formation of IBN-One, a joint venture to build and operate the first plant in France converting renewable resources into isobutene. IBN-One is a société anonyme (limited liability corporation) with share capital of €1 million ($1.11 million), jointly owned by Cristal Union and Global Bioenergies.

Ahead of IBN-One’s formation, Global Bioenergies and Cristal Union conducted a preliminary design study at several potential industrial sites. Initially, IBN-One will carry out a detailed project study covering technical, regulatory, commercial and financial aspects to flesh out the project planned in France.

Global Bioenergies has granted IBN-One a non-exclusive license to use its isobutene process for a 50,000 metric ton capacity plant to be located in France.

Marc Delcourt, chairman and CEO of Global Bioenergies, commented, “Right from the outset, our plan was to grant non-exclusive licenses on a plant-by-plant basis. With the increasing technological maturity of the isobutene process, we can now turn this dream into reality. Many other licenses are expected to be granted over the next few years.”

Alain Commissaire, CEO of Cristal Union, added, “IBN-One provides a bridge between the sugar and petrochemicals industry. The markets for fossil isobutene in materials and fuel are very large indeed. The development of market share for renewable isobutene has opened up new prospects for French agriculture and dovetails perfectly with the policy of increasing beet- growing areas planned by Cristal Union with the end of sugar quotas looming.”

IBN-One is expected to finance the cost of the engineering work with a financing round scheduled for 2016. Expressions of interest have already been received from public and private investors. Construction and start-up of the plant will require additional funding.

Bernard Chaud, chairman and CEO of IBN-One, concluded: “This raises the prospect of a global first for France in industrial biology. Thanks to the high value-added of its derivatives, renewable isobutene will address market segments adjacent to those currently served by conventional processes, such as renewable ethanol. The IBN-One plant could be operational by 2018.”