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Bio-based high-purity isoprene through high-yield technology (Bioprene)
Start date: Apr 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Visolis represent the future in cheap sustainable isoprene. About 770,000 metric tonnes of Isoprene are produced annually and commonly used in tyres, but also many other rubber applications including medical equipment, toys, shoe soles, textiles. Currently the cheapest way to produce Isoprene is via its extraction from the steam by-product of ethylene production from crude oil cracking. However due to rising crude oil prices, ethylene is being produced more and more via natural gas that does not create isoprene as a by-product, risking a shortage of isoprene and a subsequent rise in its price. In addition, crude oil cracking releases a lot of C0₂ into the environment, about 5.4 tonnes of CO₂ during the entire lifecycle procedure, contributing the greenhouse effect. Visolis have developed a new microbe and supporting process technology to produce bio-based high-purity isoprene, bioprene. The solution uses proprietary technology based on a bioengineered microbe that converts renewable materials (plant sugars) into isoprene with a high yield. Therefore Visolis are able to produce isoprene for less than half its current market price through a process that emits 4 times less the amount of CO₂. Visolis’ method can be industrially implemented by retrofitting bioethanol manufacturers existing fermentor systems. Visolis’ bioprocess is at Technology Readiness Level 6 moving towards TRL 9. Phase 1 project aims at assessing the activities needed to standardize the product, scale up to a large pilot implementation and test the market to achieve a sound business model.
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