Genomatica acquires REG’s renewable chemical assets

US bio-chemicals firm Genomatica has acquired the renewable chemical assets of the REG Life Sciences division of the Renewable Energy Group, a leading supplier of advanced biofuels in North America.

“The acquisition provides us with our third major product platform, allowing us to expand into household and industrial cleaning products, and flavours and fragrances, further growing our ingredients for the apparel, packaging and personal care markets,” the company said on 6 June.

The deal would enhance Genomatica’s ability to make long-chain chemicals from renewable feedstocks used to make surfactants, cosmetics, solvents, polymers, fuels and food ingredients.

“These oleochemicals are typically derived from palm oil, vegetable oils, or animal fats, or synthetically from fossil feedstocks such as petroleum. They range from eight to 18 carbon atoms in length and may contain multiple functional groups, resulting in long-chain alcohols, esters, acids, ketones, aldehydes, alkanes, amines, amides and branched products.

Genomatica said its approach of making the chemicals via fermentation from natural, plant-based sugars or biomass-based feedstocks was more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The company said the assets it had acquired included technology for making drop-in long-chain chemicals and various novel and proprietary products being researched and/or under development.

They added to its existing ‘C4’ platform, which had already delivered commercial products for bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO) used for biodegradable plastics and apparel, and for butylene glycol (cosmetics and personal care). This was in addition to its ‘C6’ platform, with chemicals under development including bio-based caprolactam to make 100% renewable nylon for apparel and carpet.

Genomatica produces BDO at a DuPont Tate & Lyle plant in Tennessee and its BDO process has also been licensed by German chemicals firm BASF and Italian biochemical firm Novamont.

“Consumer demand for sustainable products continues to grow, and successful companies will increasingly switch to ingredients that reduce harm to the environment,” said Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling. “This acquisition adds powerful technology and talent to help Genomatica enhance the sustainability of everyday products.”