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Interview of Roquette: An Open Innovation Program to Develop Biobased Products and Processes

SpecialChem / Thibaud Deleger – Apr 16, 2012

Because the Chemical Industry is actively working on developing plant-based products the SpecialChem team wanted to investigate one of the latest successful long-term projects bringing renewably sourced chemicals and polymers to the market. The Roquette Company was selected because it is a global actor in plant-based raw materials processing, which indeed recorded R&D and commercial successes in applying the starch chemistry to the synthesis and formulation of polymers. Thanks to a French Government aid of up to €42 million approved by the European Commission in December 2006 the Roquette Company led an R&D program of 5 years named BIOHUB®. The BIOHUB® R&D program involves multiple private and public partners and was created to develop new plant-based chemical products and new biotech processes for the synthesis of existing chemical products.

The main goal was to strengthen the plant-based chemistry and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. One of the latest successes of this program is the development of a high purity isosorbide, which is used in two different ways: as a monomer for the synthesis of polymers, as well as a polymer plasticizer to replace e.g. phthalates in PVC. An interview was handled at the Roquette plant and headquarters in Lestrem, France. A brief discussion that took place with Patrick Fuertes, the Director of the BIOHUB® program, and Franck Thumerel, the BIOHUB® Program Business Manager has been discussed in this section.

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