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18.04.2012LANXESS to employ evocatal biotechnology
LANXESS, a worldwide leader in the field of specialty chemicals, cooperates with biotechnology expert evocatal in the development of biotechnological methods for the synthesis of precursors for the rubber production. The goal of the project is to make use of local renewable materials in the manufacture of rubber upstream products. Until now, rubber manufacturers have worked exclusively with fossil-based materials. Now the two partners will be developing a biological method to help preserve resources and reduce emissions. The cooperation aims at identifying new pathways for synthesis and developing effective biocatalysts.

“We have achieved the first milestone, the cooperation has got off to a good start. At evocatal, we’re proud to be able to provide our expertise and experience in industrial biotechnology to support LANXESS allowing them to tap into resources that are not fossil-based,” commented the company’s CEO and founder Dr. Thorsten Eggert. “We will consistently continue to expand our technology platform in the future, helping drive production methods to use renewable, non-fossil resources.”

Launched in September 2011, the partnership is part of the “ThRuBio” project (Thermoplastics and Rubber via Biotechnological Synthesis) – a research consortium that includes Evonik Industries AG, LANXESS Deutschland GmbH and the Technical University of Munich. The research project, which is slated to continue until 2014, is receiving support from the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) via the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR). www.fnr.de

According to Dr. Claus Dreisbach, the project leader at LANXESS’ Group Function Innovation & Technology, the company’s view is that “active participation in the process of raw material change is very important, as LANXESS is a company where sustainability is key. We appreciate evocatal as a competent partner in the search for interesting enzymes.”

LANXESS, the largest producer of synthetic rubber in the world, has already begun employing renewable resources in the manufacture of high performance rubber. Since November 2011, the company’s KeltanEco® brand has been the world’s very first ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, made with bio-based ethylene. LANXESS is also searching for alternative sources in the production of its premium synthetic butyl rubber, which is primarily in demand by the tire industry.