PTTMCC Biochem (PTTMCC), a joint venture between PTT PLC and Mitsubishi Chemical, has selected BioAmber Inc. as its partner for a polybutylene succinate (PBS) plant that will begin construction in Thailand in 2012. BioAmber will build a biobased succinic acid plant in Thailand to exclusively supply as feedstock to PTTMCC. Succinic acid is the principal starting material for the production of PBS, along with 1, 4-butanediol. PTTMCC plans to take an interest in BioAmber's succinic acid plant and secure off-take for a portion of the plant's capacity. The plant will be built in proximity to PTTMCC's PBS plant, and both plants are expected to come online in 2014. The partners have begun a feasibility study to determine the exact location of the succinic acid plant, which could be built next to the PBS plant at the Map Ta Phut site in Rayong. At peak capacity BioAmber expects to produce 65,000 MT of succinic acid on the site. BioAmber also plans to produce 50,000 MT of biobased 1, 4-butanediol on site, using its technology licensed exclusively from DuPont to convert biobased succinic acid directly to 1, 4-butanediol in an integrated process. PTTMCC will help BioAmber secure biomass for the plant, which will initially source sugar from cane and/or tapioca, and subsequently biomass sugars.
After evaluating the various biosuccinic acid technologies, PTTMCC concluded that BioAmber's platform offered the lowest cost biosuccinic acid and the lowest technology risk. By securing BioAmber's cost competitive succinic acid, PTTMCC expects to drive down the manufacturing cost of biobased PBS, a renewable, biodegradable polymer that has significant growth potential and strong patent protection thanks to a recently issued Mitsubishi Chemical patent.
"BioAmber operates the world's only large-scale biobased succinic acid plant and is already Mitsubishi Chemical's sole supplier of biobased succinic acid. BioAmber has proven the quality and cost of its biosuccinic acid and we have been working together for a number of months to further improve the technology,'" said Shigeru Handa, General Manager of Mitsubishi Chemical's Sustainable Resources Business Development Department and a member of the PTTMCC board of directors. "Partnering with BioAmber will allow PTTMCC to have competitive biosuccinic acid from a local source by 2014," he added. Jean Francois Huc, CEO of BioAmber says "With its strong patent portfolio, PTTMCC Biochem is poised to be the dominant player in biobased PBS and this partnership gives BioAmber a strong position in a fast growing segment of the biosuccinic acid market