Hamburg, Germany – Minnesota-based food corporation Cargill and German chemicals distributor Helm AG have joined forces to establish the first commercial-scale, renewable 1,4-butanediol (BDO) production plant in the US.
The two companies will invest a combined $300 million (€252 million) in the JV, Qore, to produce bio-based Qira-branded BDO, the companies announced in a statement.
The 65 kilotonne per annum production plant will be built at Cargill’s existing biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa.
The two companies expect the plant to be completed and operating in 2024.
Qore has licensed Genomatica’s BDO process technology and will use Cargill’s global feedstock supply and fermentation manufacturing expertise to produce the bio-intermediate.
This is the second commercial-scale plant using Geomatica's bio-BDO technology. Italy-based polymer group Novamont opened 'world's first' bio-BDO production plant in Novara, Italy in 2016 using the technology.
Made biologically through the fermentation of plant-based sugars, Qira is claimed to save up to 93% of greenhouse gas emissions when replacing conventional BDO.
The two firms expect the bio-based intermediates to be used in industries such as automotive, electronics and packaging.
“Brands are not only looking for more innovative, environmentally-friendly solutions, but are also needing supplier capabilities and resources that can consistently meet those expectations” said Jill Zullo, VP biointermediates/bioindustrial at Cargill.
“This new venture combines Cargill’s end-to-end supply chain… with Helm’s expertise in effectively bringing unique chemical applications and other creative solutions to life and to the market,” she said.