First-of-its-kind bio-based plant to be built in Malaysia (Day 270)

First-of-its-kind bio-based plant to be built in Malaysia (Day 270)

21st February 2015

Two biotechnology companies are joining forces to build a world-first renewable chemical manufacturing plant in Nusajaya, Iskandar, Malaysia.

The plant is said to be the first-of-its-kind; a bio-based plant that will produce 30 million pounds of diacids, including dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), each year.

Verdezyne, an American industrial biotechnology company that works to develop technologies to create a positive impact on the environment, has partnered with Bio-XCell, a Malaysian biotechnology park and ecosystem facility aiming to position Malaysia as a world leading biotech location.

So, through their partnership, Verdyzyne has leased 6.9 acres of land at the biotechnology park and secured a loan from Bio-XCell of RM 250 million (or UK £49 million) to build their plant.

The plant will be used to run Verdezyne’s yeast fermentation technology, which will produce a variety of commercial diacids that can then be used to produce nylon and other polymers.

Diacids are able to react with two molecules of a monobasic acid or one of a dibasic acid to form an ester or a salt. Dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) (a diacid) is used in the production of high performance nylon 6,12, moulding resins, as well as adhesives and powder coatings.

Nylon 6,12 is traditionally produced from butadiene via a multi-step chemical process. But Verdezyne has optimised its yeast platform for cost-advantaged production of DDDA from low cost, environmentally friendly plant-oil sourced feedstocks.

Verdezyme’s process is unique as it has developed a way of producing renewable diacids.

Photo Credit | Verdezyne Signing of the BioXCell-Verdezyne collaboration

Verdezyne president and CEO, William Radany, whose board includes a number of chemical engineers, said: "We are thrilled and are eagerly anticipating breaking ground in the near future on this major new manufacturing plant for the production of renewable diacids.

"This agreement is part of our comprehensive strategy of expansion into Asia and represents a huge step toward our goal of replacing petroleum-derived chemicals with renewable drop-in replacements.”

Nylon and other polymers produced through this process have the potential to deliver bio-based options for everyday products including: cosmetics, paints, adhesives, lubricants, fuel line tubing and toothbrush bristles - to name but a few.

Bio-XCell Malaysia CEO, Rizatuddin Ramli, said: "The investments will further augur and strengthen the value proposition of the Bio-XCell ecosystem as a regional hub for industrial bio-manufacturing and bio-processing."

Verdezyme was previously awarded ‘BioNexus’ status by the Prime Minster of Malaysia, The Right Honourable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak. BioNexus status is awarded to qualified companies undertaking value-added biotechnology and/or life sciences activities in Malaysia.

Verdezyme’s work has also been supported by Prime Minister Najib Razak and US President Barack Obama, and it speaks highly of the importance of what they are doing to have such well placed allies.

The project itself was announced in November at the Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2014 conference and work is due to start this year.

I look forward with anticipation to hearing the successful outcomes of this project and commend the team for their sustainable approach to development.


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