Making Chemicals the Bio Way

People have been producing chemicals and compounds by biotechnological methods for many centuries. Today's biobased chemicals are produced from renewable resources either by fermentation, or by chemical and enzymatic conversion, followed by complex product isolation and cleaning procedures.

Typical products of the already well-established biochemicals industry include amino acids, citric acid, thickeners such as xanthan gum and carrageenan, yeasts and yeast extracts, starter cultures and technical enzymes.

A major growth area for the biochemicals industry is in the biotechnological production of chemicals and compounds that would traditionally be derived from petrochemicals. Processes have already been developed to produce a range of these platform molecules using renewable resources, which will reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources.

GEA has longstanding experience in project design and project management for large industrial biochemical plants. We can offer integrated solutions, and complete processing lines for the biochemical industries. Our expertise spans a comprehensive range of process technologies for production, purification and concentration, including:

  • Fermentation
  • Biomass separation by centrifuges or membrane filtration
  • Product isolation and purification by distillation, melt crystallization or membrane filtration
  • Concentration by evaporation
  • Crystallization and drying of the final product
  • Concentration and drying of byproducts by evaporation and drying

GEA’s development centers and global process and technology expertise can support customers in the optimization of their processes and scale up, to derive and implement the most efficient and sustainable processes for biochemicals production.

Traditional and new bio-chemistry

Many chemicals have been produced by biotechnological methods for many centuries. Typical products of this well-established industry are

  • Amino acids
  • Citric acid
  • Thickeners like Xanthan Gum  and Carrageen
  • Yeasts and yeast extracts
  • Starter cultures
  • Technical enzymes

GEA has great experience and large number of references in this traditional biochemical industry mainly for

  • Concentration of products and byproducts by evaporation
  • Biomass separation my mechanical separation or filtration 
  • Solvent recovery for extraction and precipitation processes 
  • Product and byproduct drying 

Platform bio-chemicals and bioplastic monomers

A new trend in chemical production with promising potential and huge growth rates is the substitution of petrochemicals with biochemical. These so called platform chemicals will create a renewable chemistry in the near future.  Processes have been developed to produce different platform-molecules like:

  • Succinic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • 1,2 / 1,4 Butanediol
  • 1,2  / 1,3 Propandiol
  • Farnesene
  • P-Xylene
  • Azealactic acid

and many others.

GEA offers Equipment, Technology and Process competence the complete downstream-processing of these substances.

  • Cross-flow membrane filtration
  • Mechanical separation
  • Melt crystallization
  • Distillation & Rectification
  • Evaporation
  • Solution crystallization
  • Drying and packaging

The GEA development centers worldwide support our customers to scale up and optimize their processes to maximize process feasibility.