Michelin announced 26 Sept that the construction work on the industrial-scale prototype will start later this year and is set for completion in late 2020.
The plant will be built on Michelin’s site in Bassens, near Bordeaux, where the tire maker is already producing petroleum-based butadiene to manufacture synthetic rubbers.
“After several years of laboratory tests (manufacture of a few grammes) followed by the development of pilots at IFPEN-Lyon (manufacture of hundreds of grammes), the industrial prototype must now validate the complete chain of steps,” Michelin said in its statement.
The prototype plant will validate the technological and economic viability for mass production of bio-butadiene at volumes between 20 and 30 tonnes per annum.
Once validated, the industrial production of up to 100 kilotonnes per annum will be implemented, Michelin added.
The plant will test the use of ethanol from all kinds of biomass, including 2G ethanol – second generation, non-competing-with-food ethanol made from forest or agricultural residues such as straw, woodchips, etc.
The process has been developed by the French research institute IFPEN and will be included in the portfolio of green technologies marketed by bio-fuel expert Axens.
The products will support Michelin in meeting its target of having 80% sustainable raw materials in its tires by 2050.
“We expect bio-butadiene to represent approximately 20% of this objective,” the tire maker said.
The BioButterfly project is supported by the French environment and energy agency, under its investments for the future programme.