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Renmatix secures US$14 million investment and 1 million tonne license

Renmatix, a US-based biomass to cellulosic sugar conversion technology developer, has announced a US$14 million investment led by Bill Gates. In addition, global energy major Total has increased its interest and signed a 1 million tonne cellulosic sugar license.

The first products produced via the Plantrose process are Plantro sugars, the cellulosic sugars that serve as the primary building blocks for biochemicals and advanced biofuels. These sugars are distinct in that they have been liberated from the biomass using water and heat (photo courtesy Renmatix).

The first products produced via the Plantrose process are Plantro sugars, the cellulosic sugars that serve as the primary building blocks for biochemicals and advanced biofuels. These sugars are distinct in that they have been liberated from the biomass using water and heat (photo courtesy Renmatix).

Renmatix, a privately held US technology developer and licensor for the conversion of biomass into cellulosic sugar, has announced a US$14 million investment led by Bill Gates.

– To effectively address climate change, we need to develop an energy infrastructure that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas and is cost competitive. A critical component in this effort must be to decarbonize the industrial sector. Another is the possibility of cost competitive biofuels. Renmatix provides an innovative process that is an exciting pathway to pursue, said Bill Gates in a statement.

Total expands investment

Gates is joined in the round by Total, the France-headed global energy major which, after an initial investment in 2015, has expanded its investment. Furthermore Total has additionally signed a licensing agreement with Renmatix for 1 million tonnes of annual cellulosic sugar production capacity, at Total’s discretion to build corresponding facilities. The license represents significant revenue potential for Renmatix, extending over the lifetime of the agreement.

– At Total, our ambition is to become the responsible energy major. We want to make low-carbon businesses a profitable growth driver accounting for 20 percent of our portfolio in 20 years’ time. Meeting these goals is what has led to setting-up and expanding our collaboration with Renmatix, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.

Patented supercritical water process

Renmatix’s proprietary “Plantrose” process uses supercritical water to reduce costs in conversion of biomass to cellulosic sugars and, according to Renmatix, has faster reactions and virtually no associated consumable-expenses compared to other hydrolysis pretreatment technologies. Its technology “economically enables” a multitude of renewable process technologies to access the market for ‘high volume, low cost, broadly sourced’ cellulosic sugars. From this foundation in industrial sugars, the company continues to expand its product portfolio by valorising additional bio building block intermediates, including Omno polymers and crystalline cellulose.

– This continued progress marks the pronounced acceleration of a new, sugar-based chemistry regime that can go beyond conventional oil based products. While we are working with partners to capitalise on the vast opportunity for biobased transformation in markets as diverse as the US and India, this investment from Gates and Total together – shows recognition of our technological achievements, and magnifies our commercial momentum, said Mike Hamilton, CEO of Renmatix.

Renmatix currently operate a technical centre in Pennsylvania, a feedstock processing facility in New York and a production facility in Georgia.

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