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Bio-Based Chemicals Gain Market Acceptance

By Chemical Engineering |

As an industry sector, bio-based chemicals have seen significant expansion over the past year, with several commercial developments occurring in a group of four-carbon commodity chemicals, including succinic acid, butanols, butadiene and butanediol. While a host of technology-based companies have built new facilities and scaled up production capabilities, others have formed alliances with established players in the chemical industry in the form of strategic partnerships and development agreements. Meanwhile, larger chemical companies are seeking to incorporate bio-derived chemicals into their product portfolios, either through their own development or through partnerships. Cumulatively, the activity may have placed the bio-based chemicals industry on the cusp of a rapid acceleration, in terms of volume increases and market uptake for bio-based products. However, the successes in commercialization have not come without difficulties. Some companies have shifted their focus toward lower-volume, higher-margin products, and away from the larger market for fuels. Also, they have had to navigate a set of changes to the chemical industry that have been wrought by increased natural gas production from shale. “The industry has been somewhat…
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