Isobutene is an important petrochemical feedstock. At the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna, the Global Bioenergies S.A. company has built a demonstration plant that for the first time produces isobutene from renewable raw materials instead of petroleum.
Novel fermentative production process
In contrast to petroleum-based production, the novel process uses fermentative production. Various first- and second-generation sugars currently serve as starting materials and are converted into the small but multipotent molecule isobutene by genetically modified microorganisms.
The metabolic pathway from sugars to isobutene was developed by Global Bioenergies S.A. using molecular biology methods. Fermentatively produced isobutene serves as a feedstock for biobased fuel additives, and for various components of cosmetics.