Solugen Breaks Ground on World's First Sustainable Molecule Factory

The process makes plant-derived materials that can replace those made from fossil fuels.

A rendering of Solugen's new 500,000-square-foot Bioforge facility in Marshall, Minnesota.
A rendering of Solugen's new 500,000-square-foot Bioforge facility in Marshall, Minnesota.

During a ceremony in Marshall, Minnesota, Solugen broke ground on a new state-of-the-art biomanufacturing facility yesterday. The company created Bioforge, which they call the world's first sustainable molecule factory. The platform uses a chemienzymatic process to convert plant-derived substances into essential materials typically made from fossil fuels. 

The new facility comes after a strategic partnership with human and animal nutrition company ADM (NYSE: ADM) and aims to meet the increasing demand for sustainable solutions while bolstering domestic biomanufacturing capabilities.

Bioforge Marshall will be a 500,000-square-foot facility built atop a 34-acre parcel near ADM's corn processing complex. The facility will use ADM-sourced dextrose to make low-carbon organic acids for water treatment, agriculture, energy, and home and personal care applications.

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Dextrose will be the primary feedstock, with an estimated 150 million pounds converted annually once the plant is at full production. The facility will feature two dextrose pipelines connecting directly to the adjacent ADM plant, boosting production and lowering transport costs and emissions.

Bioforge Marshall will have three modular production lines and a total production capacity of up to 120 kilotonnes per annum (KTA) of product. Once it reaches full production, the new plant is expected to create more than 50 high-skill manufacturing jobs.

According to Solugen co-founder and CTO Sean Hunt, the facility will "significantly increase" the company's capabilities and help expand market share of low-carbon chemistries.

Solugen received $760,000 in financial incentives from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's Job Creation Fund (JCF). The facility is scheduled to come online in the fall of 2025. 

Solugen has also started collaboration efforts with local schools and workforce development groups, including Marshall Public Schools, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, and Marshall Chamber of Commerce.

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