In the United States (US), sustainable technology company Anellotech Inc. has announced that its patent pending "MinFree" biomass pretreatment process has been demonstrated to significantly reduce the mineral (ash) content of loblolly pine at a 20 tonne-per-day scale. Month-long trials converting this MinFree-treated, low-mineral pine into benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) aromatics at Anellotech’s Bio-TCatprocess TCat-8 pilot plant showed extended, economic catalyst life.
According to a statement, the patent-pending “MinFree” biomass pretreatment process is expected to provide similar results with other woody biomass like eucalyptus and hardwoods, and agricultural residues like cotton straw, sugarcane bagasse and corn stover. Anellotech is in discussions with feedstock suppliers and other participants in the supply chain to select the next feedstock for development and commercialization with the MinFree process.
We have successfully validated loblolly pine and with our partner Axens have begun engineering work for a commercial plant. We now want to move forward to develop the next feedstock(s) for use in the Bio-TCat process. We look forward to working with other feedstock growers as partners to assess and commercialize abundant feedstocks for conversion to valuable chemicals and fuels, said David Sudolsky, President & CEO, Anellotech.
MinFree also has application in the bioenergy sector. The MinFree process removes high levels of mineral elements from agricultural residues which could cause fouling, erosion and corrosion, enabling the use of residues as economical feedstocks in addition to wood pellets.