BASF and CSM JV to produce bio-based succinic acid for packaging

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

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BASF and CSM establish 50-50 JV for biobased succinic acid
BASF and Purac, a subsidiary of CSM, have created a joint venture (JV) to produce succinic acid for packaging that will be operational next year.

The new company, called Succinity GmbH, will commence operations in late 2013 with an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons of succinic acid.

BASF said they were currently unable to comment further when asked for more information about how much of the acid will be allocated as a building block in packaging.

The formation of the company is subject to filing with the relevant competition authorities and will be headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Starting point

BASF said the bacterium used is Basfia succiniciproducens, which produces the acid through natural processes and is capable of metabolizing a variety of renewable feedstocks into succinic acid.

BASF and CSM are currently modifying an existing fermentation facility at Purac’s Montmélo site near Barcelona, Spain, for the production of the acid.

There are already plans for a second facility with an annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons of succinic acid with final investment expected to be made following successful market introduction.

Anticipated growth

BASF said demand is anticipated to grow strongly in the years ahead, driven mainly by bioplastics, chemical intermediates, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticizers.

“Chemistry-driven innovations are the responses to megatrends, such as the shift to renewable raw materials​,” said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, member of the Board of Executive Directors and research executive director of BASF.

“The development of a succinic acid production process based on fermentation in cooperation with Purac is a good example of this strategy being put into practice.”

The firms have been conducting research on succinic acid under a joint development agreement since 2009.

Fabrizio Rampinelli, president of Purac, said: “We know from many discussions with customers and samples we sent them that the demand for biobased succinic acid for example for biodegradable plastics is set to grow faster and more strongly than expected earlier​.”

“The succinic acid project is fully in line with our strategy to develop commercially attractive biobased alternatives using renewable and sustainable resources​,” added Gerard Hoetmer, chief executive officer of CSM.

The news follows a JV announced last year by DSM and Roquette, called Reverdia VOF, which has a facility that is expected to be fully operational by the end of Q3 2012 producing bio-based succinic acid as a building block in plastic food packaging. 

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