Succinic acid is a linear 4-carbon saturated dicarboxylic acid. Myriant’s bio-succinic acid produced from renewable and sustainable raw materials is chemically identical to succinic acid produced by petrochemical routes, with a purity level equal or superior to the highest quality petroleum-based succinic acid. This enables Myriant’s bio-succinic acid to be dropped in to any process currently using petroleum derived succinic acid. In addition, its chemical structure allows it to replace several other building block chemicals currently produced from petrochemical feedstocks – including maleic anhydride and adipic acid, which are used in the production of everyday consumer items from plastics to clothing fibers and biodegradable solvents, to food and pharmaceutical products. The market potential of succinic acid is estimated to be $7.6 billion per year.
In the conventional petrochemical process, benzene or butane is oxidized to produce maleic anhydride – releasing roughly half of the raw material as CO2 – which is then converted to succinic acid through hydrolysis.
Myriant has developed a more eco-friendly method for the production of bio-succinic acid that addresses the supply, cost and environmental issues associated with the use of fossil fuels as feedstocks. Myriant’s technology platform uses proprietary microorganisms in a fermentation process designed to produce high-value bio-based chemicals with high yields and productivity. The biocatalysts are non-genetically modified (non-GMO) microorganisms with altered metabolic pathways that grow and simultaneously produce target bio-based chemicals from a variety of renewable feedstocks. Our highly efficient biocatalysts are able to flourish in minimal growth medium without the use of expensive, complex nutrients, enabling us to bring renewable chemicals to market that are cost-competitive with their petroleum based counterparts.
Myriant’s biocatalysts are able to consume a variety of readily available low-cost sugars from non-food sources, such as glucose from sorghum and cellulosic sugars from waste biomass. These raw materials are not subject to the extreme price volatility or supply availability issues associated with petroleum-based feedstocks. Additionally, Myriant’s anaerobic process consumes CO2, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint.
Bio-succinic acid can be used in many applications, such as plasticizers, coatings, polymers, esters, and polyester polyols. As an example, Myriant has developed Myrifilm® solvent, which can be used to manufacture coatings with superior functional performance. Myrifilm® also brings additional benefits to the coatings formulator, as it contains no volatile organic compounds (VOC), is free of hazardous air pollutants (HAPS), and is odor-free.
In 2009, Myriant received a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build the nation’s first bio-succinic acid commercial production facility in Lake Providence, La. The plant is scheduled to start-up in the first quarter of 2013 and its 30 million pound per year production capacity is already sold to customers around the world.
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