Verbio to Make Rapeseed Chemicals

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Verbio to Make Rapeseed Chemicals
A rapeseed field during sunset in the Taunus countryside in Hessen, Germany. © buchpetzer / shutterstock.com

Verbio SE recently started construction of a large-scale ethenolysis plant using rapeseed oil methyl ester at a site in Germany to manufacture large quantities of biobased specialty chemicals for use in a range of products, including high-performance lubricants for engines.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the location in Bitterfeld, Germany, attended by politicians as well as representatives of the company and its business partners.

According to Verbio, the ethenolysis plant is the first large-scale facility of its kind and uses unique processes. For feedstock, it uses certified sustainable rapeseed oil from from rapeseed growth within the region. The rapeseed oil is converted to biodiesel – rapeseed oil methyl ester – the is processed using catalysts into green molecules, which are used as renewable raw materials in specialty chemicals.

Verbio said it will make biobased specialty chemicals methyl 9-decenoate – known as 9-DAME – and 1-decene, which are used as key components in a wide range of applications. According to the company, 9-DAME is a component of detergents and cleaning and agents and serves as a raw material for lubricants and polymers. Verbio added that 1-decene is an important basis for products in the field of high-performance lubricants used in modern engines, gearboxes and wind turbines.

The Bitterfeld plant is to have a nominal annual production capacity of 32,000 metric tons of 9-DAME and 17,000 tons of 1-decene. The company’s stated objective is to manufacture 60,000 t/y of renewable products for the chemical industry. Verbio said it plans to commission the plant in 2025 and commence regular production in 2026.

XiMo, a Verbio subsidiary owning the ethenolysis patent, is also constructing a production plant to manufacture metathesis catalysts on a multi-ton scale. They will be used in the ethenolysis process to meet Verbio’s internal needs and also to supply external customers using similar applications. The technology is based on the metathesis process.

To finance the plant, Verbio is receiving funding from the joint Federal Government/Lander regional development scheme for technologies deemed particularly environmentally friendly and innovative.

“In total, Verbio is investing in the range of €80 million (U.S. $87 million) to €100 million in the new ethenolysis plant here in the Bitterfeld location,” Theodor Niesmann, chief technology officer of Verbio, said in a press release.“