GranBio and Rhodia JV to make chemicals from biomass

Brazil-based biotechnology company GranBio and Rhodia, a Solvay Group company, are to produce bio n-butanol after signing a joint venture agreement.

The bio n-butanol chemical will be made from biomass which is readily available in Brazil, such as sugarcane straw and bagasse.

The partnership will see the two companies build a biomass-based n-butanol plant in Brazil, scheduled to enter operation 2015. Both companies will benefit from agreements that each of them has already entered into with companies that own the technology.

'This project reflects our focus on technologies based on renewable resources, and the partnership with Brazil's GranBio demonstrates our confidence in the country's great potential in this field,' says Vincent Kamel, CEO of Coatis, a Solvay Group business unit based in Brazil.

n-butanol is widely used in the paint and solvent industry and produces acrylates and methacrylates.

The investment in the biomass-based n-butanol plant requires the approval of the companies' boards. The structure of the agreement is to be submitted for clearance by Brazil's antitrust body, CADE.