Greening the Supply Chain with Biobased Technology

Contributor II
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By Babette Pettersen, Chief Commercial Officer, BioAmber our dependence on fossil fuels is a major environmental goal driving companies to invest in cleaner, greener technology and to produce more sustainable products. BioAmber, a US-based sustainable chemicals company, uses proprietary biotechnology and chemical catalysis to convert biobased feedstocks into renewable chemical building blocks, contributing to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the end-products.

From bioplastics to natural cosmetics, bio energy to organic flavors, in virtually every industry, consumer demand for greener, more natural products is fueling a surge of research into biological alternatives. As such, biobased products will continue to make inroads into spaces traditionally held exclusively by petroleum-based options. That means more sustainable solutions for a wide variety of markets, from polyurethanes and plastics to personal care, flavors and fragrances.’s portfolio of renewable chemicals enables formulators and manufacturers to significantly improve the renewable carbon content of their products.  Whether regulatory compliance demands it or companies are intrinsically committed to improving their sustainability, BioAmber provides choice, naturally.

BioAmber’s first product, biobased succinic acid (Bio-SATM), is carbon neutral at industrial capacity. The industrial plant in Sarnia, Ontario will generate 102.5% less greenhouse gas emissions and use 64.4% less energy compared to petrochemical production of succinic acid pound for pound, so the use of these biobased building blocks immediately reduces the overall footprint of any product, when used as a direct replacement for a carbon-intensive chemical.

BioAmber’s business model of open innovation and partnerships is enabling new biobased product families derived from BioAmber’s biosuccinic acid. BioAmber’s C4 platform also includes bio 1,4-butanediol (BDO) which is made using hydrogenation catalyst technology licensed from DuPont, that transforms BioAmber biosuccinic Acid into BioAmber bio-BDO.  A large volume chemical intermediate, 1,4 BDO has applications in a broad range of markets from PBT Resins to Spandex fibers.  BioAmber also has a biobased C6 platform in development. This platform includes a range of biobased C6 chemicals, not only adipic acid, but also caprolactam, caprolactone and HMDA.

These biobased building blocks also offer significant innovation potential, effectively creating a whole new chemistry set based on renewable chemicals. In polyurethanes, for example, the use of biobased succinic acid to replace petroleum adipic acid offers differentiated performance benefits over a range of properties, combined with the highest levels of renewable carbon. For example, additional properties, such as abrasion or chemical resistance can be achieved.

In conclusion, renewable chemicals are a new starting point for chemicals and the vast range of products they enable, to make a critical sustainability impact for chemical manufacturers, product developers, all the way through to end-consumers.

One step toward a more sustainable economy is a step change in the right direction.  Many step changes make a sustainable world possible.

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