Genomatica licenses PROESA™

SAN DIEGO, California and RIVALTA SCRIVIA, Italy, January 24, 2012

Genomatica has obtained the exclusive worldwide rights to the PROESA® process for the production of BDO from biomass, through any fermentation-based process, pursuant to a definitive agreement signed with Beta Renewables.  Integrating PROESA with Genomatica’s direct biological process will result in a complete, proprietary process for the second-generation manufacturing of BDO using non-food, cellulosic biomass as feedstock. Genomatica’s process is intended to deliver better economics and a smaller environmental footprint than the production of petroleum-based BDO.  BDO is an intermediate chemical used in products that include athletic apparel, running shoes, electronics and automobiles.

The companies plan to produce BDO from biomass at demonstration-scale in 2012, at Beta Renewable’s facility in Rivalta Scrivia, Italy.  This agreement builds on a previously announced strategic partnership between Genomatica and Gruppo M&G (the majority owner of Beta Renewables) and strengthens the partnership between the two organizations.

“We believe that combining best-in-class technologies, like Genomatica’s BDO process and PROESA – and licensing them to companies for their production facilities – can drive faster adoption of advanced biofuels and biochemicals,” said Guido Ghisolfi, CEO, Beta Renewables.

“Together we will provide more feedstock flexibility to the chemical industry and a solution to reducing the volatility of raw material inputs,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO, Genomatica. “We are working to enable our chemical industry partners to produce sustainable chemicals from conventional sugars, cellulosic biomass or syngas – all while delivering improved profitability compared to petrochemical processes, the ability to deploy smaller-scale plants, and a smaller environmental footprint.”

Genomatica’s process for direct biological production has been recognized in peer-reviewed publications and with the 2011 EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.  Its work on biomass to BDO has won a DOE grant.

PROESA is a ‘second-generation’ technology for using non-food energy crops or agricultural waste and turning them into different types of sugary liquids, and is designed to produce them at a lower cost than competing approaches.  These sugars are expected to allow custom organisms and processes, like Genomatica’s, to make bio-products with improved economics.  PROESA is used to convert lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars, and it will be used in the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, with operations planned to start in mid-2012.

About Genomatica

Genomatica is a technology leader for the chemical industry. It delivers new, transformative manufacturing processes that enable its partners to produce intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks. These chemicals serve as the basis for making substantially all of the products that make modern life possible. Genomatica’s processes are designed to achieve better economics with enhanced sustainability and a smaller environmental footprint than conventional, petroleum-based manufacturing processes. Genomatica is developing a pipeline of manufacturing processes for the production of these chemicals, and expects the first commercial-scale BDO plant that utilizes its processes to begin production in 2013.   

About Beta Renewables

Beta Renewables is the leader in making non-food cellulosic biomass practical and cost-effective for the production of advanced biofuels and biochemicals. Beta Renewables is a unique $350 million (€250M) joint venture formed from the Chemtex division of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi and TPG.  The company has over 60 years of success in process development and commercializing hundreds of plants worldwide. Beta Renewables has invested over $200 million (€140M) in the development of the PROESA® process. The company is currently building the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol facility in Crescentino, Italy, expected to be in commercial production in mid-2012. 

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