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Anellotech announces first successful performance test of its TCat-8 pilot plant

US-headed Anellotech Inc., a sustainable technology company focused on producing cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass, has announced that Anellotech and IFPEN/Axens engineers completed a successful continuous performance test of the TCat-8 pilot plant as part of unit commissioning in Silsbee, Texas.

Suntory, IFPEN and Anellotech leadership and engineering teams at the official TCat-8 startup that
took place October 6, 2016 (photo courtesy Anellotech).

Using local wood species Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda), the test involved the continuous injection of “MinFree” pre-treated woody biomass feedstock and production of renewable aromatic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX) and other chemical by-products.

According to a statement, the primary objectives of the test were met by demonstrating steady control and operation of the reactor, stripper, and regenerator fluid bed systems with continuous catalyst circulation at design pressures and temperatures.

Anellotech also filed a Form D with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing a US$0.8 million equity investment from a new, confidential strategic partner bringing a total of US$3.2 million in equity and R&D funds since its last funding update on October 6 2016 when it announced receiving a US$1.5 million equity investment also from a confidential strategic investor.

Being able to operate the unit continuously this early in our commissioning program is a significant achievement, especially considering the complexity of its various recycle loops at a pilot scale. This operating milestone is the outcome of three years of collaborative design, project management, construction, and start-up work by Anellotech’s R&D team, IFPEN, Axens, Johnson Matthey, South Hampton Resources, and other key advisors, said Chuck Sorensen, CTO for Anellotech.

Anellotech’s new, fully-integrated development and testing facility (TCat-8) began commissioning on September 1, 2016. A 25 meter-tall unit, jointly designed with strategic partners France-based IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN) the process uses a catalyst jointly developed with Johnson Matthey and will confirm the viability and suitability of Anellotech’s proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology, the Bio-TCat process, for scale-up.

Additional tests are planned to complete the commissioning phase and then commence process development studies to acquire data for commercial scale-up and design of the process with the first commercial operations planned by the end of this decade. After verification of the continuous operation of TCat-8, strategic partner Suntory plans to move ahead with studies to consider the development of the first commercial-scale Bio-TCat plant.

The development of 100 percent bio-based aromatics will meet growing consumer demand for plastic products, children’s toys, laundry detergent and food and beverage packaging made from sustainable sources

About Anellotech

Anellotech is developing the “Bio-TCat” process to produce cost-competitive renewable aromatic chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX) from non-food biomass for use in making plastics such as polyester, nylon, polycarbonate, polystyrene, or for renewable transportation and aviation fuels. Bio-TCat co-products, C9+ aromatics and carbon monoxide (CO), can be used to make cellulosic jet and ethanol biofuels respectively, via third party technology. The key differentiators driving Bio-TCat’s cost-competitive advantage are its “MinFree” biomass pretreatment followed by a one-reactor catalytic process.

Along with its in-house R&D, Anellotech has long-term alliances with other organisations in process development, catalysis, engineering design, and licensing to accelerate development and drive cost-competitiveness. These include process development and scale-up partner IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN), catalyst development partner Johnson Matthey and Axens is the partner for industrialization, commercialization, global licensing and technical support. Strategic partners in the BTX supply chain, including Suntory and Toyota Tsusho also have provided capital to Anellotech.

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