Is Bio-Butanediol Here to Stay?

Sep 6, 2012

New Nexant Special Report Compares Traditional and Alternative Methods of 1,4-Butanediol Production

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Nexant, Inc. today announced the publication of the newest title in its series of Special Reports: Is Bio-Butanediol Here to Stay?

The global 1,4-butanediol (BDO) industry appears to be on the cusp of a technological revolution.  Biological routes to 1,4-butanediol are being perfected that offer tremendous promise to new participants, but threaten to dramatically alter the business from the perspective of established producers.  Indeed, the opportunities are of such great magnitude that even current participants are taking a hard look at bio-based routes. For example, Davy Process Technology is working with Myriant on ways that bio-succinic acid can be employed in Davy's well- established process to co-produce 1,4-butanediol/?-butyrolactone/tetrahydrofuran.  Another example of an arrangement between bio-firms and established 1,4-butanediol producers is the memorandum of understanding between Genomatica and Mitsubishi Chemical to study bio-1,4-butanediol and derivatives production in Asia.

Nexant's new report analyses the myriad of conventional technologies for producing 1,4-butanediol, as well as 1,4-butanediol technologies based on renewable resources.  The report compares the economics of conventional and renewable resource-based routes to 1,4-butanediol.  This analysis shows that depending on the feedstock, process, and location, developing bio-routes can compete under certain scenarios against conventional gas and oil-based routes.

Is Bio-Butanediol Here to Stay? covers:   

  • Conventional 1,4-butanediol technologies: maleic anhydride/acid hydrogenation, Reppe acetylene, butadiene acetoxylation, propylene oxide hydroformylation, allyl alcohol hydroformylation
  • Emerging 1,4-butanediol technologies: hydrogenolysis of succinic acid (from dextrose fermentation), direct glucose fermentation, thermolysis of poly-4-hydroxy-butyrate (P4HB)


In addition, the report includes 1,4-butanediol economics and individual sensitivities on natural gas, n-butane, propylene oxide, and glucose prices to show the effect on production processes.  Finally, the report also includes global 1,4-butanediol, tetrahydrofuran, and ?-butyrolactone market overviews by major regions with a discussion on supply, demand, and trade.

Is Bio-Butanediol Here to Stay? is available immediately.  For more information on this and other Nexant reports, please visit: or contact Jim Virosco at or Marisabel Dolan at