US-headed sustainable materials company Origin Materials, Inc. (Origin) has held a ribbon-cutting ceremony of Origin 1, the world’s first commercial bio-based chloromethyl furfural (CMF) plant. Located in Sarnia, Ontario (ON), Canada start-up of the plant began in June, in-line with prior guidance.
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Origin has developed a platform for turning the carbon found in biomass into useful materials while capturing carbon in the process.
The new plant which began start-up procedures on June 27, 2023, will supply industries with intermediate chemicals and materials that can be used across a wide range of end markets, including clothing, textiles, plastics, packaging, car parts, tyres, carpeting, toys, fuels, and more with a ~US$1 trillion addressable market.
The Origin 1 plant represents a significant scale-up of Origin’s chemo-catalytic technology platform for converting sustainable wood residues into versatile intermediate chemicals.
This plant substantially scales up our revolutionary core technology platform. We expect the power of our platform intermediates, CMF and HTC, to be transformative for the chemical industry and how the world generally makes things, said John Bissell, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Origin Materials.
Versatile chemical building blocks
The technology platform converts C-6 cellulose into four isolated building-block chemicals – chloromethyl furfural (CMF), hydrothermal carbon (HTC), levulinic acid, and furfural in one chemo-catalytic step with almost zero carbon loss.
CMF is a versatile chemical building block that can be used to make numerous downstream products, including para-xylene, which is the precursor to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, and furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which can be used in numerous sustainable products and materials such as the next-gen polymer polyethylene furanoate (PEF).
The plant will also produce HTC, whose applications include sustainable carbon black for automotive tyres.
We are thrilled to be making our intermediates available to the industry on a scale never before achieved. The commercialization of a molecule like CMF is historic, on the order of ethylene. After working with CMF for over a decade at a pilot scale, we couldn’t be more excited to begin commercial production here in Sarnia, John Bissell said.
Origin 1 will be operated to optimally fulfill customer demand around qualification and sampling. The plant is expected to play a key role in the development of higher-value products and applications for CMF, HTC, and other co-products.
These higher-value products are expected to be produced and sold at a world scale from future plants, including Origin 2, Origin 3, and potentially licensed plants.
The startup of Origin 1 is a testament to the strength of our team in the face of the pandemic and related supply-chain headwinds. We are excellently positioned to meet the massive customer demand for our renewable, carbon-negative products, as we continue to execute our mission to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials ended John Bissell.