Australia-headed biotechnology company Circa Group has announced that it is, via its European subsidiary Circa Sustainable Chemicals, leading the consortium for a new EU project ReSolute – a flagship Horizon 2020 project set to develop the first commercial plant in the European Union (EU) to produce Cyrene, a new, sustainably-sourced, bio-based and safer alternative to conventional, fossil-based solvents.
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Building on the previous Horizon 2020 project ReSolve, the ReSolute project will build a flagship plant to create levoglucosenone (LGO), a chemical building block that can be used to produce the non-toxic, bio-based and biodegradable solvent Cyrene in one step.
The plant is expected to reach a production capacity of 1 000 tonnes of Cyrene per annum, using feedstock from non-food renewable biomass.
The project brings together 12 partners from 6 countries – Circa Sustainable Chemicals (UK, Belgium), Merck KGaA Darmstadt (Germany), Norske Skog Golbey (France), IAR (France), Will & Co (Netherlands), University of York (UK), Talga Resources (Germany), Huntsman Specialty Chemicals (Switzerland), CPL (UK), AgroParisTech (France), PNO Consultants (France) and PFA (Belgium) – and it will provide new manufacturing and employment opportunities in product manufacture and downstream conversion in Europe.
IAR, the French Bioeconomy Cluster, is delighted with the establishment of this industrial unit in France. We are happy to work hand-in-hand with Circa, a member of the IAR Cluster, on a successful ReSolute project, where we are partners and which is now fully on track – thanks to the announced funding from the EU. IAR is confident that ReSolute will have positive results and help create a European bio-based solvent manufacturing base, said Yvon Le Hénaff, Chairman of ReSolute consortium member IAR, the French bioeconomy cluster.
In December 2018, Circa Group received authorization from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to manufacture or import Cyrene into the European Union (EU), after receiving REACH Annex VIII approval.
Following the success of the ReSolve project, which was led by the University of York, we are delighted to now lead the ReSolute consortium with some great partners including Merck KGaA Darmstadt and Norske Skog. Traditional solvents such as NMP, DMF, DMAc, and DCM are all under intense regulatory pressure, yet still being used in large volumes. Circa has developed five successful pilots – most recently a joint venture with Norske Skog – and we now going into an industrial scale in the EU, with a project that supports the EU’s ambitious circular economy strategy, said Tony Duncan, CEO, and Co-Founder of Circa Group.