A new process technology allows cost competitive renewable materials to be manufactured for a wide range of markets

Developing process flowsheets at our Paddington, UK site
Developing process flowsheets at our Paddington, UK site

Johnson Matthey's existing butanediol process allows customers to manufacture high quality products for the polymers and solvents industries. It has historically required a form of petrochemical as feed but this innovation, the creation of a new bio-butanediol process, means customers can now use a sugar based feed called bio-succinic acid.

Our customers use the new process to make chemical intermediates that are used in products for automotive, electrical and clothing applications.

By building on Johnson Matthey's core scientific strengths, the team was able to modify one of its existing technologies to use the new feed. They then approached several companies that were developing sugar to bio-succinic acid technology to highlight how this new process could benefit them.

Low risk and fast to market

The new process is particularly attractive to customers because the technology is commercially proven and offers a low risk, fast to market route for large scale commercialisation. This, together with our strong reputation, has resulted in a licence agreement with a customer for a new plant. Innovations during the development of the new process have also resulted in three new patent applications, with a further one pending.

Adapting the process has given us unique experience of working in biochemicals which will support future developments and partnerships in the renewables sector.