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BP partners with Virent and Johnson Matthey on production of bio-paraxylene

In the United States (US), biomass conversion technology developer Virent Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, has announced that it together with Johnson Matthey (JM) has signed an agreement with global oil and gas major BP that "will further advance" the commercialization of Virent’s "BioForming" process for the production of bio-paraxylene (PX), a key raw material for the production of renewable polyester.

In the United States (US), biomass conversion technology developer Virent Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, has together with Johnson Matthey (JM) signed an agreement with global oil and gas major BP that “will further advance” the commercialization of Virent’s “Bioforming” process for the production of bio-paraxylene (PX), a key raw material for the production of renewable polyester (photo courtesy Virent).

Virent’s Bioforming technology, which is being developed with JM, produces drop-in reformate product from renewable sources that can be used to produce renewable fuels and also processed into lower carbon-intensive bio-PX, the feedstock for bio- purified terephthalic acid (PTA), using existing technologies.

We have been working with JM to scale up the BioForming process for the production of renewable fuel and are very pleased to enter into this agreement with BP to commercialize the technology for the production of bio-PX and bio-PTA. This is an indication of the flexibility of the BioForming technology to produce both biofuels and bio-aromatic chemicals, said Dave Kettner, President of Virent.

As part of this agreement, the parties will work together to commercialise the BioForming technology – BP will contribute technical resources and has exclusive rights to negotiate becoming the sole manufacturer of bio-PX using Virent’s technology.

We consider Virent’s technology to be the leading route to commercial quantities of renewable bio-PX that may enable BP’s existing petrochemical plants to produce a distinctive product in support of our commitment to advance a low carbon future. In our petrochemicals business, we have also introduced our PTAir product line, a low carbon PTA product, and we continue to work toward improving the efficiency of our operations, said Charles Damianides, BP’s VP of Petrochemicals Technology and Licensing,

Eugene McKenna, Business Development and Innovation Director at JM added that bringing this latest technology to market “is an important step in increasing the quantity of renewable feedstocks used to make polyester packaging and fibers. We will continue to use our science and engineering skills to facilitate the wider adoption of this technology.”

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