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Verdezyne breaks ground for world’s first bio-based DDDA plant

US-headed Verdezyne, Inc., a privately-held industrial biotechnology company focused on producing renewable chemicals, has revealed that a groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 30 for its VerdePalm plant, the world's first commercial-scale bio-based DDDA manufacturing facility, at the Bio-XCell biotechnology and ecosystem park in Nusajaya, Iskandar, in southern Malaysia.

Crude palm oil (CPO) and other palm oil industry byproducts derived from oil palm fruits will be used to produce bio-based dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) at the VerdePalm plant that has commenced construction in Malaysia (photo courtesy Gustav Melin). Crude palm oil (CPO) and other palm oil industry byproducts will be used to produce biobased dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) at the VerdePalm plant that has commenced construction in Malaysia (photo courtesy Gustav Melin).

The groundbreaking ceremony for the VerdePalm plant was co-hosted by Chad Waite, Chairman of the Verdezyne Board of Directors, and YBhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Abdul Ghani Othman, Chairman of the Board of Sime Darby Berhad, the largest investor in Verdezyne Inc.

Attendees included Malaysian dignitaries and representatives from Verdezyne’s partners, Bio-XCell Malaysia and the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation. The Guest of Honour, YAB Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor, presented the Officiating Speech.

Malaysia is proud to host Verdezyne’s first commercial manufacturing plant, which is located at the Malaysian Bio-XCell park. I believe the eco-system provided by the park will be an excellent fit for the VerdePalm facility. Malaysia will continue to commit to the ongoing advancement of biotechnology in the country. The groundbreaking ceremony signifies Verdezyne’s readiness to work with Malaysia and marks another milestone in our quest to add value to the palm industry using biotechnology as a catalyst, said Zainal Azman B. Abu Kasim, Senior Vice President of BioIndustrials, Bioeconomy Corporation in Malaysia during the ceremony.

According to a statement, the new facility is expected to be completed in 12-18 months and is designed to produce bio-based long chain diacids via fermentation of Verdezyne’s proprietary yeast, which has been engineered to use non-food biomass to produce high-value chemicals.

The first product to be produced at VerdePalm will be dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), a 12-carbon diacid that is a component of many consumer products currently made from petroleum.

Importantly, the starting yeast will be made from the spent biomass that results from palm oil processing. Crude palm oil and palm byproducts, as well as other plant-based raw materials, will be used to produce approximately 6 000 tonnes of industrial grade DDDA each year. Verdezyne’s technology will enable a very low-value by-product of palm oil processing to become a high-value “green” product that reduces the use of petroleum, said Chad Waite.

First announced in November 2014, VerdePalm will be the world’s first biobased plant for DDDA production.

We are excited that a product made by Verdezyne and our Malaysian partners will be shipped around the world to be used as an alternative to the typical petroleum-derived intermediate chemicals. The VerdePalm plant is part of our comprehensive strategy of expansion into Asia, and represents a major step toward our goal of replacing petroleum-derived chemicals with renewable drop-in replacements, said Dr E. William Radany, President and CEO of Verdezyne.

DDDA is a key component of FerroShield, a recently launched product which according to Verdezyne can be used in numerous corrosion inhibitor applications including metalworking fluids, engine coolants, metal cleaners, die cast release agents, and aqueous hydraulic fluids.

Marketing of FerroShield was launched in February of this year. The rust inhibition industry is in need of a high-performing dibasic acid mixture that can be easily incorporated into existing customer formulas. We foresee strong demand for FerroShield in a number of countries in Asia and Europe, as well as in the US and Canada, said Dr E. William Radany.

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