The bio-based transition: drop-in versus new products


Gert-Jan Gruter
CTO at Avantium and professor of Industrial Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam


Starting from the previous issue of Chimica OGGI / Chemistry TODAY we will provide this new column entitled “Emerging Value Chain” where the author will discuss novel chemical technologies with specific emphasis on those that can contribute to the EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.


In the previous issue I discussed that although we have seen considerable investments in the development and commercialization of sustainably sourced materials in the last 2 decades, progress towards achieving successful commercialization has taken longer and has been more arduous than anyone initially predicted. I concluded that especially the lack of a competitive cost position for bio-based alternatives has brought many programs to a halt.

When discussing new emerging technologies for sustainable future building blocks (monomers) with bulk potential, biomass and CO2 are the only alternatives for current fossil feedstocks. In this and in the next issue of Chimica OGGI/Chemistry TODAY I like to consider the advantages and disadvantages of drop-in products (same molecule but now for example bio-based) and new products (currently not produced at large scale).


Several parameters play a key role in determining ultimate commercial potential of a new process technology. Most important is the estimated production cost at various stages required up to and including full commercial scale and product performanc ...