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09-18-2015

BioHub Programme Comes to a Successful Conclusion

The Roquette Group and Bpifrance announce that the BioHub programme has come to a successful conclusion. Throughout this programme Roquette and its partners have developed innovative solutions for the performance plastics and specialty chemistry markets.

Roquette, the 5th largest starch manufacturer in the world, emphasises the industrial and commercial successes resulting from the BioHub programme, supported by Bpifrance. Launched in 2006 and essentially focused on breakthrough projects, the BioHub programme has initiated several industrial developments: isosorbide and biosuccinic acid for the manufacture of performance plastics and the isosorbide diesters used as plasticizers. Thanks to all these new solutions, new innovative materials are in the process of being marketed.

In order to bring this programme to a successful conclusion, Roquette, the leader of BioHub, brought together numerous private sector and public partners: Arkema (France), DSM (Netherlands), BASF (formerly Cognis, Germany), Solvay (France), Tergal Fibres (France), Sidel (France), Eurovia/Vinci (France), Metabolic Explorer (France), Insa Lyon and Rouen (France), Institute for molecules and condensed matter (IMMCL, France), The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France), Rice University (USA).

Bpifrance’s support provided in the form of subsidies and recoverable advances in the context of an Industrial Innovation Mobilization Programme (PMII) has enabled the development and production of new chemicals using renewable agricultural materials, such as cereals, transformed thanks to of new chemical and biotechnological processes.

The programme led to the development of Polysorb isosorbide enabling polymers to be endowed with exceptional properties, in particular an increased heat resistance and excellent transparency and U.V. resistance. The Polysorb isosorbide is a valuable solution for the performance plastics markets. Thanks to solid technological expertise resulting from over eight years of targeted studies in various fields, an industrial production process for very high purity isosorbide was perfected. Roquette then invested in and recently inaugurated at the beginning of 2015 in Lestrem (France) a 20,000 t/a isosorbide production unit. Roquette is now the world leader for isosorbide for the plastics and chemistry specialty markets.

The biosuccinic acid project is based on an innovative and unique biotechnology using yeast. Following the setting up of the joint-venture Reverdia (DSM / Roquette 50/50), the project has resulted in an industrial production unit of 10,000 t/a located on the Roquette site in Cassano (Italy). This fully operational unit offers the market a product that fully meets the expectations of the customers in the polymer sectors.

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