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Anellotech announces start-up of key R&D program at TCat-8

US-headed Anellotech Inc., a sustainable technology company focused on producing renewable aromatic chemicals and fuels from biomass has announced the completion of the commissioning of its TCat-8 pilot plant. It marks the start of a critical development and testing programme that will generate bio-based benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) samples for use in making prototype samples of PET polymer for packaging and bio-benzene-based polymers such as ABS, polycarbonate, and polyurethane.

According to a statement, with the successful completion of TCat-8 pilot plant commissioning, intensive process development and testing program have begun to confirm process economics and collect data for commercial plant design.

The program will generate bio-based benzene, toluene and xylene samples for use in making prototype samples of PET polymer for Suntory packaging and bio-benzene-based polymers such as ABS, polycarbonate, and polyurethane for other strategic investors

An integrated team of Anellotech and IFPEN research engineers and technicians will optimize process variables and generate data for process development and scale-up. Commercial Bio-TCat™ plant design and process licensing will be carried-out by Axens.

The beginning of the TCat-8 pilot plant development and testing program marks an important milestone in the commercialization of Anellotech’s innovative and cost-competitive path to bio-aromatics. We are pleased with the progress made to date and look forward to our continued collaboration with Anellotech as we execute on our mutual goal of bringing this groundbreaking technology to market, said Jean-Pierre Burzynski, Director of the Process Business Unit at IFPEN.

Develop catalysts

Anellotech and its development partners IFPEN and Johnson Matthey will also develop next-generation catalysts, evaluate loblolly pine and other sustainable bio-feedstocks, and confirm Bio-TCat’s process economics at commercial scale.

The TCat-8 unit is designed to demonstrate the Bio-TCat (thermal catalytic biomass conversion) process in a fluid bed reactor with internal process recycle streams and continuous catalyst regeneration. The pilot plant was jointly designed by Anellotech and IFPEN and is located in Silsbee, Texas on the plant site of South Hampton Resources (SHR). The process will use a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and Johnson Matthey.

We have made significant progress achieving major milestones with the commissioning of our TCat-8 pilot plant, including completion of multi-day long continuous test runs, and are now beginning the development phase for generating data necessary to advance Bio-TCat process commercialization. We will also produce test samples of bio-based renewable aromatic chemicals for conversion by third-parties into bio-based polymer prototypes, said Dr Charles Sorensen, CTO of Anellotech.

As an integral component in the bio-based value chain, Anellotech’s Bio-TCat technology cost-competitively produces “drop-in” renewable aromatic chemicals (benzene, toluene, and xylenes, BTX) from non-food biomass. One such application is the use of bio-paraxylene for conversion to PET beverage bottles thereby enabling the production of 100 percent bio-based packaging.

In addition to prototype paraxylene sample production for PET applications testing, the TCat-8 unit output will be used to make prototype test samples of benzene and toluene for conversion to polymer derivatives such as bio-based ABS, polycarbonate, polyurethane, and high performance engineered polymers for use by current and/or future strategic investor product development, corporate marketing, and sustainability programs.

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