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Michelin Unveils Bio-Butadiene Manufacturing Plant for Demonstration
Michelin Unveils Bio-Butadiene Manufacturing Plant for Demonstration

Michelin Unveils Bio-Butadiene Manufacturing Plant for Demonstration

  • 22-Jan-2024 2:56 PM
  • Journalist: Patrick Knight

Michelin has recently unveiled a groundbreaking development in the field of sustainable manufacturing with the inauguration of what is deemed the "first industrial-scale" demonstration plant for the production of bioethanol-derived butadiene. This remarkable achievement is the outcome of a collaborative effort between Michelin, the French institute IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN), and the environmentally conscious clean-fuel company, Axens. The state-of-the-art facility, located at Michelin's site in Bassens near Bordeaux, France, is a pivotal component of the BioButterfly project, dedicated to advancing and commercializing the production of butadiene sourced from plant-derived feedstock.

The journey towards the establishment of this demonstration plant spans over a decade of intensive research and development undertaken by the project partners. Michelin proudly highlights that the BioButterfly initiative has seen a cumulative investment exceeding €80 million, underscoring the commitment and resources dedicated to the realization of this groundbreaking venture.

The inauguration of this demonstration plant marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of creating a thriving bio-based synthetic elastomer industry. Michelin emphasized that BioButterfly has taken a momentous step forward in advancing the production of bio-based butadiene, contributing to the evolution of sustainable industrial practices.

In the immediate future, the project partners are set to embark on a comprehensive validation process for each stage in the manufacturing of bio-based butadiene. This undertaking is essential to ascertain the technological and economic viability of the plant. The production capacity of the facility is estimated to range between 20 and 30 tonnes per year, demonstrating the potential for scaled-up production.

Axens, one of the key collaborators in this venture, is poised to play a pivotal role in commercializing the process technology essential for the industrial-scale production of bio-based synthetic rubbers. This strategic move aligns with the overarching goal of promoting sustainable alternatives in the rubber and elastomer manufacturing sector.

Michelin shed light on the fact that a substantial portion, 40% to be precise, of the global butadiene consumption is channelled into tire production. The remaining 60% finds application in various sectors, including coatings, plastics, textiles, and construction materials. Recognizing the versatility of bio-based butadiene, Michelin anticipates additional markets beyond traditional rubber applications, further expanding the potential impact of this environmentally conscious innovation.

Beyond the immediate applications in rubber, Michelin envisions the broader implications of BioButterfly in supporting the company's ambitious goal of utilizing 100% renewed or recycled materials in its tires by the year 2050. Eric-Philippe Vinesse, Michelin's Executive Vice President of Research and Development, emphasized the significance of BioButterfly as a wonderful opportunity to contribute towards achieving this sustainability

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