Quod erat demonstrandum: Fermentative production and scale-up for the production of 1,4-butanediol and itaconic acid with the aim of cost reduction and improved sustainability


Europe is preparing for the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy. This European bio-economy provides comprehensive answers to the most important social challenges of today, as outlined in the EC Strategy and Action Plan "Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe". These include the creation and maintenance of jobs, the maintenance of the competitiveness of the process industries, the adaptation to climate change, the reduction of the dependence on fossil raw materials and with the "more with less" strategy also a reduction of the dependence on renewable raw materials needed for the food industry.

Due to the wide range of possibilities and the complexity, it is expected that this change will take at least one to two decades. The current starting position for Europe in the biotechnological production of valuable chemicals from renewable biomass is very good. Europe has a leading role in research within industrial (white) biotechnology. In addition, Europe is characterised by the global leadership of its chemical and food industry and its advanced logistics infrastructure. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for the economic exploitation of research results for industrial processes in order not to lose this top position to faster-acting competing economies.

A working group was therefore formed within this framework to consolidate the proof of concept for industrial production plants. This is connected with the establishment of all key technical/economic parameters required for investment decisions on the first industrial production plants for the manufacture of the bio-based basic components 1,4-butanediol (BDO) and itaconic acid (IA). These two important chemicals are thus to be transferred from research to industrial application. The project partners cover the complete value chain for bio-based 1,4-butanediol and bio-based itaconic acid.

The Industrial Biotechnology Group of Fraunhofer IGB is concerned with the selection of suitable second-generation raw materials and the production of sugars from these raw materials and the associated toxicity tests for microbiological utilization. WP2 is concerned with the establishment of fermentation for the production of BDO and IA from the selected raw materials. The working group will provide the project partners with advice on this.

Project information

Project title

Bio-QED - Quod Erat Demonstrandum: Fermentative production and scale-up for the production of 1,4-butanediol and itaconic acid with the aim of cost reduction and improved sustainability


Project duration

January 2014 – December 2017


Project partners

  • Novamont S.p.A
  • Cargill Haubourdin SAS
  • MI-PLAST d.o.o. za proizvodnju, trgovinu i pružanje usluga (MI-PLAST LLC. manufacturing, trade and services)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research - TNO
  • Fraunhofer CBP
  • Patentopolis BV
  • RINA Services
  • Nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH


We thank the EU for funding the project "BioQED - Quod Erat Demonstrandum: Large scale demonstration for the bio-based bulk chemicals BDO and IA aiming at cost reduction and improved sustainability«, Grant Agreement: 613941.

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