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Mater-Biotech plant inaugurated in Veneto: the plant is the first in the world to produce butanediol (a solvent) from renewable materials.
Its name is Mater-Biotech, it is based in Bottrighe (Rovigo, Veneto), and it is the first plant in the world to produce butanediol on an industrial scale from renewable raw materials. This achievement is due to Novamont, the Novara-based plastics development enterprise which has become a leader in the field of bioeconomy.
Butanediol is much more common than it sounds: this chemical intermediate has an annual $3.5 billion market. So far it was only ever produced from fossil sources. It is used both as a solvent and as a component for the production of plastics, elastic fibres and polyurethanes.
Novamont started from a technology developed by Genomatica, a Californian bioengineering leader, and created a biotechnological platform that takes sugars, processes them with specifically engineered escherichia-coli (e.coli) bacteria, and transforms them into biobutanediol.
The interaction of Novamont’s research and industrial know-how with Genomatica’s revolutionary technology has led to the development of a product that can be manufactured on industrial scale in 30 thousand tons per year. The new process will guarantee a 50% saving of CO2 emissions. The environmentally sustainable profile of Novamont’s biobutanediol is enhanced by the energy efficiency levels achieved by the Mater-Biotech plant in Bottrighe: the plant is designed to reuse its byproducts to power the manufacturing process, so as to optimize the whole production cycle.
“Mater-Biotech is only a ring in a chain of leading plants worldwide – says Catia Bastioli, CEO at Novamont – we regard this system of plants as a formidable accelerator, a hub of opportunities for the bioplastics and chemical production chain, for raw material producers, for manufacturers, for new entrepreneurial ideas, for the creation of new jobs, and for all those who work to create a socially and environmentally sustainable future”.
“Novamont’s research centres in Piana di Monte Verna and Novara, together with the Mater-Biotech plant, represent a formidable platform for industrial biotechnologies, from basic research to flagship plants – concludes Bastioli – It’s an occasion for us to increase our competitiveness, working together with academic and industrial partners”.
After becoming fully operational, the plant in Bottrighe is expected to give work to 70 people, in addition to creating 180/200 jobs in satellite activities.