Lubricants

Biosynthetic Technologies to break ground on commercial-scale plant next year

Biosynthetic Technologies to break ground on commercial-scale manufacturing plant next year

Biosynthetic Technologies Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., U.S.A., expects to break ground on a commercial-scale plant in Texas in five to six months, according to Chief Executive Officer Allen Barbieri.

Biosynthetic Technologies manufactures a revolutionary new class of bio-based synthetic molecules that are made from organic fatty acids found in plant oils. Working with Albemarle Corp., a leading specialty chemical company, Biosynthetic Technologies is now operating a continuous flow demonstration plant in Baton Rouge, La., U.S.A.

Speaking at the 2015 Annual Congress of the European Lubricants Industry (UEIL) in Malta last week, Barbieri said that Biosynthetic Technologies is two years’ away from commercial production.

He said that the company can produce lower cost products today than when crude oil was trading at USD 100 per barrel because vegetable oil, which is the feedstock used by Biosynthetic Technologies, has come down in price significantly.

“We can use canola oil, soybean oil, palm oil. We use all of these products at our demonstration plant. We get a consistent end product regardless of the vegetable oil we use, so we can switch [feedstocks],” Barbieri says.

“Our process is a simple catalyst reaction process. We take fatty acids, we introduce them to a catalyst in the reactor, and the catalyst creates our finished molecule. Any unreacted fatty acids are recycled back around, so we have no waste products. 100% of the feedstock becomes a finished product. All of that adds up to substantially lower manufacturing costs than PAOs or PAGs, and obviously much lower than esters. We can come into the market with this product, for customers using Group IV or Group V, with a really wonderful environmental story and yet also the same, and in many cases, better technical benefits than the Group IV, Group V products that you are currently using,” he says.

The end product has many applications, including passenger car motor oils. Last year, Biosynthetic Technologies received API SN certification from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on both SAE 5W-20 and 5W-30 viscosity grade passenger car motor oil (PCMO) formulations based on its biosynthetic estolide base oils.

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