Anellotech achieves key process technology operating milestone
Anellotech Inc., a US-based sustainable technology company developing cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass has announced a key operating milestone, achieving two weeks of continuous operation of its seven-story tall TCat-8 pilot plant, producing aromatics primarily benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX ) from loblolly pine feedstock. It also secured a US$6 million investment from Suntory Holdings Ltd, which was part of a previously announced US$15 million deal.
According to Anellotech, its Bio-TCat Process’s cost-competitive renewable aromatic chemicals are “drop-in” replacements for their identical petroleum-derived counterparts and can be used in manufacturing plastics such as polyester, nylon, polycarbonate, polystyrene, or for renewable transportation fuels. The low carbon footprint of Bio-TCat products can help chemical producers and consumer brand owners meet challenging corporate environmental sustainability goals.
Having recently announced the completion of commissioning of the TCat-8 pilot plant located in Silsbee, Texas, Anellotech has begun an extensive development program to optimize process variables, validate process economics, confirm catalyst long-term performance, and obtain the critical data for commercial plant design.
As these studies continue, TCat-8 is producing evaluation quantities of renewable aromatic chemicals for conversion into bio-based polymer prototypes and for bio-fuel certification programs.
We have demonstrated continuous, stable operation of the TCat-8 pilot unit over a two week period as the first key step in demonstrating Bio-TCat’s commercial viability. In a relatively short time period, our pilot plant has generated a large amount of high-quality data which gives us confidence that we will be able to achieve our longer-term operational goals. Continuous catalyst circulation, the injection of solid biomass feedstock into the reactor, and several internal recycle loops create numerous complexities that Anellotech engineers and scientists, together with our R&D partners IFPEN and Johnson Matthey, have successfully addressed said Dr. Charles Sorensen, Chief Technology Officer of Anellotech.
Additional funding secured
The alliance with Suntory, one of Anellotech’s principal strategic investment partners, began in 2012 with the goal of enabling the development and commercialization of cost-competitive 100 percent bio-based plastics for use in beverage bottles.
Suntory currently uses 30 percent plant-derived materials for its Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands and is pursuing the development of a 100 percent bio-based PET bottle through this alliance, as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices.
Anellotech secured an additional US$6 million investment from Suntory Holdings Ltd, which was part of a previously announced US$15 million package. Suntory’s total investment in Anellotech’s program is now more than US$30 million.