BluCon Biotech, a German biotech company, and LG Chem, a Korean chemical company, have entered into an investment agreement to scale up and commercialize BluCon Biotech’s proprietary technology to supplement LG Chem´s bio-economy portfolio BluCon Biotech’s technology has the potential to be a disruptive game changer in the world's plastics market by using direct fermentation of lignocellulosic feedstock to lactic acid to achieve bioplastic PLA that is price-competitive with fossil-based plastics, contributing to a sustainable circular bio-economy. BluCon Biotech and LG Chem agreed to work together on a novel process for converting non-food lignocellulosic feedstocks into high purity lactic acid, a precursor for bio-based and biodegradable plastics.
“BluCon's IP-protected technology is highly efficient and unique as it is the first in the world to directly ferment ligno-cellulosic biomass to lactic acid in one bioreactor. This will lead to a commercially viable process that can produce lactic acid at a lower cost than traditional methods, making bio-based plastics competitive with fossil-based plastics.” says Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dr. Albrecht Läufer.
By using non-food feedstocks derived from agricultural residues and waste streams e.g. from the pulp and paper industry, BluCon not only avoids competition of chemical production with the food chain, it also helps to protect the environment by reducing pollution from incineration of straw or bagasse and avoiding CO2 emissions.
BluCon has already received funding from the German Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection to scale up its proprietary fermentation technology. The company is currently performing pilot runs. “We are proud to have won the investment and support of LG Chem, one of the major chemical companies in the world, that clearly commits to reaching carbon-neutral growth by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.” says Co-Founder and Co-CEO Markus Fehr.
BluCon plans to adapt its process for the conversion of feedstocks, such as wheat straw into bioplastics, to other feedstocks such as corn stover, bagasse, cotton stalks, starch and algae. BluCon will serve as a technology supplier. It will license its technologies to investors, the chemical and biotech industry and to large feedstock and bioplastic producers. This will generate revenue through milestone, royalty and service fees. The factories will likely be located in areas with ample feedstock supplies. This can con-tribute to bring development to remote rural areas worldwide. Additionally, the technology platform of BluCon has the flexibility to be used to produce other bio-based products as well, such as ethanol or succinic acid.