US-based sustainable technology company Anellotech Inc. has declared that the viability of its proprietary Bio-TCat biomass conversion technology has now been proven by achieving commercially-targeted yields in its "TCat-8" pilot unit in Silsbee, Texas during six months of continuous process operations.
According to a statement, process yields of 22-24 percent by weight of liquid products from loblolly pine feedstock were demonstrated. Supplemental carbon monoxide (CO) output provides the potential for an additional 3-5 percent yield by weight of cellulosic ethanol via third-party technologies or production of renewable electricity.
The “Bio-TCat” reactor produces a liquid product containing over 98 percent C6+ aromatic chemicals directly from the “MinFree”-pretreated feedstock. After mild hydro-treating and purification, “AnelloMate” products – the family of liquid products made through “Bio-TCat” – meet all specifications for sale as chemicals or fuel blendstocks.
Plans for first commercial plant
As announced in October 2018, Anellotech is now planning the construction of its first commercial plant and is engaging in partnership and funding discussions with existing engineering and licensing partners IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and Axens as well as with new strategic partners. Engineering work is expected to begin this summer and once funding is secured, the next phase of construction will begin in the second half of 2020.
IFPEN is the French public research entity and a major research and training player in the ﬁelds of energy, transportation, and the environment. IFPEN collaborates with Anellotech to leverage its expertise in fluid bed catalytic reactor technology, refining, and petrochemicals processing.
Axens is a major international process licensing and engineering firm that provides a broad range of process and catalytic solutions to the oil refining, petrochemical, and natural gas industries including novel technologies for renewable biomass conversion.
The first plant will be capable of processing 500 bone dry tonnes per day of Loblolly pine wood into 40 000 tonnes per annum (860 BPSD) of products including benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), and C9+ aromatics to use as fuels or for making bio-based plastics for packaging and consumer products. In addition, 30 000 tonnes of CO and other by-product gases will also be produced, for use in generating renewable electricity or used for chemical feedstock.
We are delighted with these results, as they validate the economic potential of the Bio-TCat process and give us confidence that even small, initial scales of production are viable. The goal of being cost-competitive with fossil resource technologies is a reality and we look forward to on-going process improvements, said David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech.
Anellotech and its partner Axens are looking forward to licensing much larger plants following this first commercialization. These would be five-times bigger, producing 200-250 000 tonnes per annum (4 000-5 000 BPSD) of aromatics and 150 000 tonnes of CO. This rapidly expands the availability of bio-aromatics for chemicals and fuels, providing cost-competitive solutions needed by refiners and brand owners looking to make a difference in their carbon footprints.
We are very excited about the prospects of deploying the Bio-TCat technology commercially under license in the coming years. We expect to bring non-food, renewable solutions to the fuels and chemicals markets for products that meet sustainability goals and provide attractive returns under competitive market conditions, affirmed Pierre Beccat, Executive Vice-President Technology Development, and Innovation at Axens.