COPENHAGEN, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Danish sugar and ingredients group Danisco DCO.CO said on Tuesday it would spend $50 million over three years to continue development of a bio-based alternative for the petroleum-derived compound isoprene.
The Danish company has joined forces with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. GT.N to develop a process for producing the chemical using renewable raw materials.
The development of the product, which the companies are calling BioIsoprene, could make the tyre and rubber industry less dependent on oil-derived products, Danisco said in a statement.
Danisco said it based its investment on conservative estimates of an annual world market potential for high purity isoprene of $1 billion to $2 billion.
It said its product would address that market as a renewable and cost-competitive alternative to petroleum-derived isoprene, which is used for the production of synthetic rubber and other elastomers.
Danisco said it and Goodyear had been investing jointly for more than a year. The companies expect technical readiness by 2010 and the commissioning of the first large manufacturing plant two years later.
Reporting by Kim McLaughlin; editing by Elaine Hardcastle