Myriant Starts up New Bio-succinic Acid Plant in Louisiana

25.06.2013 -

Myriant has started up its flagship bio-succinic acid plant at Lake Providence, Louisiana, in the U.S. The company said the unit with nameplate capacity of 30 million lbs (13.6 t/y) is the first commercial-scale production facility of its type in North America. It has produced on-spec product, and shipments to customers are expected to begin soon.

"Given the positive metrics we've achieved to date at Lake Providence and most recently at ThyssenKrupp Uhde's commercial validation plant in Leuna, Germany, we expect a relatively smooth transition to steady-state operations," said CEO Stephen J. Gatto.

Bio-succinic acid is an important starting material for biopolymers, and its pioneers are mostly receiving input funding. Myriant's Lake Providence Facility is funded in part by a $50 million cost sharing cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, a cash injection of $25 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development B&I Loan Guarantee Program and a $10 million grant from the Lake Providence Port Commission and the Louisiana Department of Transportation.

Myriant sees the global market for succinic acid as being worth around $7.5 billion in new and existing applications. The company said its high purity bio-succinic acid made from renewable feedstocks is chemically equivalent to petroleum-based succinic acid but leaves a lower environmental footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 94% compared to petroleum-derived succinic acid and by 93% compared to petroleum-derived adipic acid, a chemical that succinic acid can replace.

The U.S. biochemical company already has contracts with partners to develop the market for bio-succinic acid. Earlier this year it signed an agreement with Turkey's Bayegan Group to commercialize the green product in the Middle East, eastern Europe and Africa, in 2011 a distribution pact with Japan's Sojitz Corp covering Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Also in 2011, Thailand's PTT Chemical invested €60 million in Myriant to help fund development and commercialization.