Global agribusiness giant Cargill has partnered with German chemicals logistics, distribution and marketing company HELM to build a US$300M commercial-scale renewable butanediol (BDO) facility, Cargill announced on 8 June.

The aim of the joint venture company Qore was to help leading brands replace fossil-based chemistries with bio-based intermediates, enabling them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, according to the statement.

As part of the agreement, both companies were investing a combined US$300M to build the BDO facility in the USA, Cargill said.

“This new venture combines Cargill’s end-to-end supply chain and long-standing, successful product commercialisation in several bio-industrial markets with HELM’s expertise in effectively bringing unique chemical applications and other creative solutions to life and to the market,” Cargill vice president, biointermediates/bioindustrial, Jill Zullo said.

The joint venture will focus on producing QIRA 1,4 BDO, which is made through the fermentation of plant-based sugars.

QIRA could be used in the manufacture of spandex and other polyester-based chemical fibres as well as biodegradable plastics, polyurethane coatings, sealants and artificial leathers, Cargill said.

Cargill and family-owned HELM plan to build the bio-based intermediate production facility at Cargill’s existing biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa. The plant was due to be operational in 2024.

Qore has licensed Genomatica’s BDO process technology and is using Cargill’s global feedstock supply and fermentation manufacturing process to initially produce and distribute an expected 65,000 tonnes/year of QIRA, according to Cargill.

HELM will work with brand owners, original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers to incorporate QIRA into their respective products.

Hamburg-based HELM is active in the chemicals, crop protection, pharmaceuticals