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Global Bioenergies scales up isobutene process

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Global Bioenergies has announced that it has succeeded in producing isobutene by fermentation at the scale of the Leuna Demo plant with run length and performances exceeding those performed on the pilot plant in Pomacle, France.

Success in this phase of the process' scale up was obtained less than five months after start-up of the fermentation unit at the Leuna Demo plant. Global Bioenergies described the news as an important milestone on its path to large scale operation of the isobutene process.

Ales Bulc, Managing Director of the German subsidiary of Global Bioenergies, said: "The direct production of gaseous isobutene by fermentation is a novel field which we are pioneering. It was far from certain that we would be able to so quickly replicate at the scale of the demo plant the results achieved in smaller volumes."

Rick Bockrath, Vice President Chemical Engineering, said: "Today, the process is still below commercial metrics and our efforts over the coming months will focus on improving productivity." Denis Thibaut, Fermentation Manager, added: "New strains and new protocols associated with improved performances have recently been identified in the laboratory. They will soon be transferred to the Demo plant."

The company also announced that the purification unit has received the approval from the TÜV, the principal certification body in Germany.

After commissioning of the filling station, the demo plant will be fully certified for operation. Delivery to partners of the first batches of isobutene for testing is expected in the June timeframe. Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies, added: "One of our major objectives for 2017 will be to come closer to commercial performances at Leuna Demo plant. We will then have a mature process, ready to be transferred to the future commercial plants."

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