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Green Biologics to shut its first commercial bio-based chemicals plant in US.

Green Biologics’ Little Falls, Minnesota bio-based chemicals plant. © Green Biologics

“Accordingly, given this withdrawal of financial support, the board and management of its subsidiary companies, Green Biologics, and Central Minnesota Renewables have commenced an orderly closure of operations…”

UK-headquartered biotechnology firm Green Biologics has announced that it has failed to secure funding to keep its US facility, which produces bio-based chemicals, running and will close it down.

The company produces bio-based n-butanol and acetone at its Minnesota-based plant, which is its first commercial facility.

The products were marketed as replacements to their traditional petroleum-based counterparts. The company was aiming to sell their products to sectors such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and speciality coatings.

Yet, in a statement, Green Biologic’s (@GreenBioLtd) board said it could not secure the funding “to enable it to continue with its plan to build up sales and production of levels of renewable butanol and acetone at the Group’s Little Falls, Minnesota plant to the point of cash break-even”.

The company added: “Accordingly, given this withdrawal of financial support, the board and management of its subsidiary companies, Green Biologics, and Central Minnesota Renewables have commenced an orderly closure of operations and wind-down of those corporations for and subject to any actions by their creditors”.

Green Biologics said it will be considering “strategic options” for the future of the company.

Media reports suggest that the closure will result in 50 job losses.

The Little Falls plant was purchased in December 2014 through the acquisition of assets from the Central MN Ethanol Cooperative (CMEC). Green Biologics re-named the site Central MN Renewables (CMR) and commenced construction on its renewable chemicals’ facility in September 2015. The 21 million-per-annum-capacity ethanol plant was retrofitted with Green Biologics’ proprietary advanced fermentation technology to produce bio-based n-butanol and acetone.

In 2015, the company raised around under $80 million from investors.

The news will come as a disappointment for the company because it had started to build a robust pipeline of domestic and export customers combined with multiple partnerships to bring its products to downstream markets.

These include distribution agreements with Acme Hardesty, Nexeo Solutions, and Caldic as well as a strategic partnership with HOC Industries, a custom blender, packager and distributor of consumer and government products.

In fact, last year, the company launched what it described as the world’s first bio-based acetone nail polish remover. It unveiled this product in 3,000 Sally Beauty stores across the US.

Green Biologics also jointly launched a bio-based charcoal lighter fluid with charcoal specialist Kingsford last year.

The company also received a number of certifications for its products including a USDA certification and REACH one.

Speaking about the launch of the Minnesota facility and first product shipments in 2016, CEO Sean Sutcliffe said that the start of its first commercial facility was “a critical milestone” in building the company’s position “within the industry as a global renewable speciality chemicals company”.

Green Biologics provided no further comment on the news about the closure of its Minnesota facility when requested to by Bio Market Insights.


Bio Market Insights Issue #14

Read: 5 minutes with… David Anderson, Global Vice President of Marketing for Green Biologics.

Read: Shipments of bio-based n-butanol and acetone now leaving Green Biologics first commercial plant.

Read:  At the HELM of the bio-based chemical ship.

Read: Chinese chemical firm invests €5.5m in Danish biotech start-up to develop new biochemicals.

Read: How UPM Biochemicals are maximising the opportunity found in our forests.

Read: Leaders interview: Frederik Feddes, Vice President, Biochemicals, Corbion.

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