The BioButterfly project has just reached a new milestone. After developing this new technology to produce bio-sourced butadiene from ethanol on a pilot scale, the project is now moving into a validation phase with the construction of a demonstrator at Bassens, in France.

Scheduled for completion in late 2020, this demonstrator will enable an annual production of between 20 and 30 tons of bio-sourced butadiene. It will also validate the industrial process on both a technical and economic level. By mid-2021, the first butadiene batches will be available.


Since its launch in 2012, and till the end of the project in 2022, Michelin and its partners, IFP Energies Nouvelles and Axens, backed by the ADEME (French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management), will have invested nearly 70 million euros. In the validation phase alone, the project will lead to the creation of over twenty jobs on the Bassens site.


Plant of Bassens (France)

Reducing CO2 emissions linked to tire production

The BioButterfly project will help to reduce the use of butadiene derived from oil-based products by replacing it with butadiene produced from alcohol obtained through fermentation of plant biomass. In addition, this replacement will lead to a reduction in CO2 levels linked to tire production.

Taking into account the environmental impact of its activities is in the DNA of the Michelin group, pioneer and leader in sustainable mobility. Between now and 2050, 80% of raw materials used in our tires will be sustainable, with bio-sourced butadiene representing nearly 20%.
Florent Menegaux, Michelin CEO

This project is part of the Michelin group's key objective to increase the rate of raw materials derived from sustainable development sectors in tire production.

Environmentally-friendly technologies

The demonstrator currently being set up in Bassens will be able to run on ethanol obtained from all types of biomass, namely ethanol 1G from, beets, corn and wheat and 2G ethanol produced from forestry and agricultural waste such as straw, wood chips, corn stalks.... This approach presents the added advantage of not using additional agricultural land, which could be used for food production.

Towards a commercial licence


Technology developed in the context of the Biobutterfly project is the subject of an agreement between the different partners who authorise the Axens group to commercialise the licence for the bio-sourced butadiene production process. Consequently the procedure will be available to the petroleum or petrochemical industry and will increase its reach and positive impact on an environmental level.

With this project, Axens, already a key player in the field of biofuel production technologies, will be able to propose a market offer that covers green chemistry for a sustainable future.
Jean Sentenac, Chairman of Axens

Subscribe to our newsletters