Published on December 10, 2013

Michelin 'sweetens' BioButterly initiative

LILLE, France (Dec. 10, 2013) — Group Michelin has struck a deal with Tereos Group, a Lille-based sugar producer, covering the industrial transformation of agricultural raw materials into alcohol to fuel the tire maker’s “BioButterly” biosourced butadiene production project.

The companies have agreed to pool their respective skills and capabilities to jointly develop innovative biomass transformation processes to support the BioButterfly project. Tereos said. To do so, the partners will create a structured chain to ensure industrial-scale transformation of agricultural raw materials to secure the long-term supply of biomass.

Michelin disclosed its BioButterfly initiative — which is designed to develop and commercialize butadiene based on biological sources such as biomass for making synthetic rubber — on Nov. 8.

It’s partnering with Axens, a research unit of IFP Energie Nouvelles of Rueil-Malmaison, France, on that project, whose eventual goal is to develop sources of renewable raw materials for the production of tires.

Tereos, an agro-industrial cooperative that is said to be Europe’s largest producer of alcohol, said it has developed extensive expertise in an array of technological channels involving beets, cereals and sugar cane and has been involved in several projects to develop second-generation alcohol production technologies.

“To consolidate the deployment of its innovation strategy, Michelin is joining forces with a major player in the industrial supply of agricultural raw materials with the goal of using biomass in its tire-production processes,” said Jean-Christophe Guerin, head of the tire maker’s Materials Division.

“Tereos is pleased to work closely with Michelin on this promising project to develop new processes that are fully focused on innovation and sustainable development,” said Alexis Duval, chairman of Tereos’ supervisory board.

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