Malaysia to house Verdezyne’s biobased DDDA plant; Sime Darby major stakeholder

US-based industrial biotechnology company Verdezyne is building its first commercial-scale plant for the production of “green” dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), a raw material used to produce nylon 6.12 and resins, from plant-based oils in Malaysia. The privately held company is currently evaluating several potential sites, ranging from an industrial park down south in Johor to Lahad Datu in Sabah, for the building of the plant that is expected to take at least 18 months to complete.

Verdezyne CFO Brian Conn has been reported to have said that the plant will serve up to 30% of the global market requirement for DDDA, which is valued at US$200 million a year. It has been growing at an annual rate of 5.4%.

Meanwhile, Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby along with existing investors BP Alternative Energy Ventures, DSM Venturing, OVP Venture Partners, and Monitor Ventures, have taken up a an investment of US$48 million in Verdezyne. With a 30% stake, Sime Darby is the single-largest shareholder in Verdezyne.

“We envision a long-term relationship that will allow us to leverage on all the feedstocks within Sime Darby’s palm oil value chain to produce a whole variety of different chemicals that we’re currently working on,” Verdezyne President/CEO William Radany said. He added, “Over the past year, with the invaluable assistance of the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, Verdezyne’s management team researched the oil palm industry extensively. We believe that Sime Darby, with its commitment to sustainablity, is the perfect partner to help lead the revolution in renewable products in the US, Malaysia and beyond.

Verdezyne recently produced more than 1 tonne of biobased DDDA using its proprietary yeast platform and downstream process. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI) and the Michigan State University (MSU) Bioeconomy Institute (BEI) worked with Verdezyne to run the bi-based DDDA process at the 4,000-l scale. This production confirmed the scalability of Verdezyne’s process and produced polymer-grade material for potential customers and partners.

Dodecanedioic acid is a dicarboxylic acid used to make nylon 6,12, moulding resins, lubricants, adhesives, and powder coatings, as well as end products such as fishing lines, toothbrush bristles and fuel lines. This industrial chemical is currently made from petroleum-based intermediates.

The financing deal was highlighted in a ceremony in conjunction with the visit of US President Barack Obama to Malaysia and attended by the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Razak, Verdezyne President/CEO E. William Radany, and Sime Darby President/Group CEO, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Mohd Bakke Salleh.


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