Italy's Novamont invests 100M euros in biochemical plant

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The Italian biochemical company Novamont has opened the first plant in the world to make a chemical compound used in the production of plastics with renewable sources.

Novamont CEO Catia Bastioli said Thursday the company has invested 100 million euros ($112 million) to convert an abandoned plant near Rovigo in Italy's Po River delta to start industrial production of the chemical compound, bio-butanediol.

Bastioli said that Novamont's production will be used primarily for biodegradable plastics for fruit and vegetable bags, food service products and shopping bags. The bio-butanediol chemical compound is made from sugars derived from corn biomass.

Until now, industrial production of butanediol has only been from fossil fuel sources. The plant will produce 30,000 tons a year, with the current global market running around 2 million tons.