Renewable Chemicals

SGBio acquires assets of Cobalt Technologies

SGBio, a joint venture between Brussels-based Solvay Group and Brazil’s GranBio, has acquired assets from Cobalt Technologies, a U.S. biotechnology company and leading developer of technology for n-butanol, acetone, ethanol and butene made from biomass.

SGBio, a joint venture between Brussels-based Solvay Group and Brazil’s GranBio, has acquired assets from Cobalt Technologies, a U.S. biotechnology company and leading developer of technology for n-butanol, acetone, ethanol and butene made from biomass.

The purchased assets include the bank of microorganisms and intellectual property related to patents, trademarks, processes, operating procedures and know how. Cobalt’s technology offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstock into bio-butanol.

With this acquisition, SGBio boosts its proprietary knowledge, now having access to a full suite of higher performance technologies utilized in the production of bio-chemicals, the company said. The robustness and flexibility of Cobalt’s microorganisms have been proven at scale, demonstrating high productivity levels, which considerably reduce risk, SGBio added.

”This acquisition of technology brings about a consistent and important step towards the establishment of industrial n-butanol and acetone production from biomass, which is one of the company’s strategic objectives,” says Márcia Cunha, CEO of SGBio.

This strategy also includes the improvement of the strains acquired, which will be carried out by the company’s R&D team. SGBio’s goal is to create a platform that allows the incorporation of a large variety of biomass sources and the development of other products.

“SGBio has significantly strengthened its position for its entry into the bio-butanol and bio-acetone markets, with this leap in knowledge, which was essential to the company’s current and future plans for the expansion in the biomass-based biochemical industry,” says José Matias, CEO of Solvay Coatis Business.

“With this deal, we have reinforced our commitment to the development of the biotechnology industry, bringing knowledge to Brazil that is at the frontier of science and which will make a green route possible to one of the main raw materials in the chemical industry,” says Bernardo Gradin, CEO of Granbio.

SGBio is a joint venture between GranBio and Rhodia, a Solvay Group company, in which each holds a 50% stake. The company was formed in October 2014 with a focus on the production and marketing of bio n-butanol, a chemical compound used in particular in the manufacture of paints and solvents. The industrial process will be second generation, using sugarcane straw and bagasse to produce cellulosic sugars that are converted to the final product.

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