Global Bioenergies makes isobutene from wood sugars in R&D breakthrough

In France, Global Bioenergies reports that they have produced isobutene by fermentation based exclusively on xylose as a feedstock. Performances using xylose were similar to those obtained when running the process on wheat-derived glucose or sugar beet-derived sucrose, the company said. The production strain’s central metabolism was remodeled using an innovative synthetic biology approach.

An isobutene process was first developed by Global Bioenergies using glucose derived from cereals such as wheat or corn. Early in 2015, the company announced that the process was compatible with crude “second generation” sugars

derived from agricultural and forestry waste. These resources are composed of a complex mix of various sugars including glucose, a six-carbon molecule, and sugars composed of five carbon atoms and in particular xylose, literally “wood sugar”.

Frederic Paques, Chief Operations Officer of Global Bioenergies declares: “We continue to diversify the resources compatible with the isobutene process. Our process shows limited sensitivity to second generation impurities. In addition, it appears robust and highly adaptable to various resources.”

Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies concludes: “The valorization of agricultural and forestry waste is a nascent industry which represents an important opportunity for Global Bioenergies. Once they are available in large quantities, these affordable resources would enable further reduction of bio-isobutene production costs and facilitate technology deployment in the context of volatile petrochemical prices.”

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