Dragons’ Den: bio-based butadiene in one step


EIES22- Starter ETB developed a process for producing butadiene from biomass. The advantage is that the bio-based chemical building block is exactly the same as the fossil variant. And the whole process can be done in one reactor. During the Dragons’ Den of Transition, ETB is asking for funding and chain partners. 

Butadiene is a chemical building block for many rubber and plastic products. Think of car tyres, toys and medical gloves. Currently, the building block is mainly produced from fossil raw materials. Several parties are therefore looking to replace it with bio-based raw materials. 


Start-up ETB Catalitic Technologies developed a catalytic process that produces the chemical building block with exactly the same specifications as the common fossil variant. A big advantage. ‘The design of car tyres involves years of development work. Imagine what it means if the bio-based building block has different specifications. Then you have to change a lot. Our butadiene is identical and can therefore simply be used in existing follow-on plants,’ states CFO Ernest Lempers. 

One step

ETB produces the butadiene from bioethanol. ‘With our team, we chose the catalytic route. We use a so-called polyfunctional heterogeneous catalyst,’ explains CEO Noah Hirsch. ‘That allows us to do more than 14 reactions in one step. We therefore only need one reactor. That saves on capital investment and it is also more efficient than multi-step processes.’


Meanwhile, the process has been extensively tested in a pilot plant. Hirsch: ‘We are now looking at industrial scale-up and we are currently designing a demonstration plant. Of course, this is expensive, so we need funding.’

Value chain

The start-up is also looking for partners in the chain. ‘We already work with several partners, but there can’t be enough of them. The only way to make the transition to bio-based chemicals possible is cooperation within the entire value chain.’

Dragons’ Den of Transition

On November 30, DDoT will conclude European Industry and Energy Summit 2022, which is being held this year at Brightlands Chemelot Campus, in the Netherlands. It was organized for the first time last year. Click here for the report.

Wim Raaijen
I am a creative publisher, editor in chief, writer, vlogger and moderator with a journalistic and philosophic based view. Trying to re-invent the concept of publishing, based on platforms and partners, instead of separated media and advertisements. I am interested in industrial subjects like transition, sustainability, safety, energy efficiency, innovation and responsibility.