Rhodia and CTBE sign deal to develop bio-based chemistry from sugarcane bagasseNews release
São Paulo, Brazil, April 26, 2012 – Rhodia, a member of the Solvay group, and the National Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) have signed an agreement to develop chemical routes and processes to obtain molecules of a high added value from sugarcane biomass, in what is known as bio-based chemistry.
Under the agreement, research will be conducted at CTBE, backed by researchers from both parties, who will work together on the development of chemical blocks currently used in different applications and markets that Rhodia and Solvay operate in, with a view to replacing non-renewable sources with biomass in these substances’ production processes.
The head of research at CTBE, Maria Teresa Barbosa, says that the first two years of development of these technologies will be carried out on a laboratorial scale, followed by scale up efforts at CTBE’s Process Development Pilot Plant, where conditions similar to industrial processes will be reproduced.
The pioneering project at CTBE in bio-based chemistry will also include computational simulations at the Virtual Sugarcane Bio-refinery (BVC), to assess the estimated investment, social and economic indicators, and lifecycle analysis of the technologies being developed.
The project will be supported by Brazil’s state-owned development bank, the Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social - BNDES, which will provide R$ 7.0 million over three years.
Besides this backing, Rhodia will also contribute its expertise in the chemical area for the development of new routes to high added-value molecules.
Thomas Canova, director of Research & Development at Rhodia for Latin America, says the partnership has brought together two organizations that have a strong commitment to the comprehensive development of bio-based chemistry in Brazil, one of the country’s strategic axes for sustainable growth.
“This initiative combines the group’s belief in the growing importance of the chemistry based on renewable raw materials, and our focus on value creation”, adds Canova.
Rhodia, a member of the Solvay Group, is an international specialty chemicals company resolutely committed to sustainable development. As a leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers' performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate. Structured around 11 Global Business Units (GBUs), Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, electronics, flavors and fragrances, health, personal and home care markets, consumer goods and industrial markets. Rhodia employs 14,250 people worldwide and generated sales of € 6.17 billion in 2011.
SOLVAY is an international chemical Group committed to sustainable development with a clear focus on innovation and operational excellence. Its recent acquisition of specialty chemicals company Rhodia created a much larger player which is realizing over 90% of its sales in markets where it is among the top 3 global leaders. Solvay offers a broad range of products that contribute to improving quality of life and its customers' performance in markets such as consumer goods, construction, automotive, energy, water and environment, and electronics. The Group, which is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,000 people in 55 countries and generated € 12.7 billion in sales (pro forma) in 2011. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB – Reuters: SOLBt.BR).
The National Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) is a research, development and innovation (R,D&I) institute in the sugarcane-based ethanol area. Open to external users, the CTBE was founded to contribute to Brazil’s continued leadership in bioethanol production, seeking answers to scientific and technological challenges throughout the production cycle. Our scientists and technicians see sugarcane as a source of carbon that can be efficiently transformed into fuels and the most diverse products for the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical, industries, among others, consolidating the mills as bio-refineries. About 9,000 m2 of built-on area, divided into laboratories and an industrial unit, are used for scientific experiments and the scaling of processes of interest to the sugarcane energy industry. This infrastructure adds to the scientific efforts made in Brazil to obtain a fuel that is both highly productive and makes maximum use of the raw material and sustainability of the sector.
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About the CTBE
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