Increasing a plant capacity by tens of thousands of tons of product without additional investment – it is made possible by an invention at the Biolys® production facility in Blair, Nebraska.

Evonik produces the feed additive Biolys®, an efficient source of Lysine, at their US site in Blair, Nebraska. As part of an optimized feed formulation this essential amino acid contributes significantly to sustainable and resource saving animal nutrition. Evonik produces overall more than 320,000 tons of Biolys® per year – still the demand continues to grow.

A technology team from the business line Animal Nutrition has vastly improved the fermentation process for Biolys®: In 2018 the fermentation process has been transferred to continuous operation allowing for maximized volumetric utilization of the existing reactors. The introduction of this technology change yielded a surplus of 35 % in the production capacity of the plant.

From the first ideas it took the team less than six months for implementation into full commercial scale. After only one successful lab scale trial the new process was directly transferred into production. The innovation was smoothly established in the existing plant structure because the constraints of the site had already been considered during the process design and optimization. Thus, investments into expansion or plant modification were avoided.

In the mean time this newly developed process established itself as the new standard technology. The site was able reap the benefits of this fast turnaround with additional Biolys volumes available late in 2018 that would not have been possible without this new process. The team believes this innovation has even more potential yet to be exploited. Further cost savings have been identified in production. In the lab, additional concepts were demonstrated to eventually achieve up to a 50 % increase in the overall productivity.

Tens of millions in additional sales have been generated since the introduction of this new production process. Beyond the implementation at the Blair site, the team developed a plan to transfer the process to Evonik’s other Biolys® production site in Castro, Brazil as well as lab scale trials with other fermentative processes.