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Title:What Solugen’s new factory means for the future of green chemicals
Author:Tom Howarth

Houston-based Solugen just announced plans for its second sustainable molecule factory. Here’s why you should be paying attention.

Bioforge 2, Solugen’s second commercial facility, marks the beginning of a new era for the chemicals industry. Image courtesy of Solugen

The $5 trillion global chemicals sector is a foundation of our modern economy. It’s also the largest industrial consumer of oil and gas and has the third-largest carbon footprint. Propped up by decades of inefficient, energy intensive and dirty processes, the chemicals industry is under intense pressure to clean up its act.

Founded seven years ago, Houston-based Solugen has developed a process that harnesses biology to produce a range of products, from plant nutrients to corrosion inhibitors, eliminating the carbon-intensive fossil fuel feedstocks and hazardous chemical waste streams associated with conventional petrochemicals.

In late October, the company announced that it is building a new 500,000-square-foot biomanufacturing facility, known as Bioforge 2, in Marshall, Minnesota. Scheduled for phase-one launch in the first half of 2025, Solugen’s second commercial facility marks the beginning of a new era for the chemicals industry, wherein a wide range of the chemicals can be produced at scale at a single plant with no carbon emissions or waste.

"One of the biggest challenges for the chemical industry is speeding up the pace of innovation to develop new catalysts for desired chemical transformations quickly," said Karthish Manthiram, a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. "Solugen has proven that their platform leads to fast results, alleviating this bottleneck."

The global green chemicals market was valued at $82.5 billion in 2022 and is predicted to have an annual growth rate of 12.1 percent between now and 2030. But it has struggled to come up with solutions that can reach commercial scale...

Date Added:11/20/2023 6:41:19 AM