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Anellotech process for renewable chemicals achieves milestone

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Sustainable technology company pioneering the Bio-TCatTM process for the production of cost-competitive renewable chemicals and fuels from non-food biomass, Anellotech has announced a key operating milestone. It has achieved two weeks of continuous operation of its seven-story tall TCat-8 pilot plant that produces aromatics (primarily benzene, toluene, and xylenes) from loblolly pine feedstock. The company also secured an additional US$6 million investment from Suntory Holdings Ltd, which was part of a previously announced US$15 million package. Suntory’s total investment in Anellotech’s programme is now more than US$30 million.

The cost-competitive renewable aromatic chemicals produced by the Bio-TCat Process are ‘drop in’ replacements for their identical petroleum-derived counterparts. The chemicals can be used for manufacturing plastics, such as polyester, nylon, polycarbonate, polystyrene, or for renewable transportation fuels. The products’ low carbon footprint can help chemical producers and consumer brand owners meet challenging corporate environmental sustainability goals.

Having recently announced completion of commissioning of the TCat-8® pilot plant (located in Silsbee, Texas, US), Anellotech has begun an extensive development programme to optimise process variables, validate process economics, confirm catalyst long-term performance, and obtain the critical data for commercial plant design. As these studies continue, TCat-8 is producing evaluation quantities of renewable aromatic chemicals for conversion into bio-based polymer prototypes and for bio-fuel certification programmes.

The alliance with Suntory began in 2012 with the aim of enabling the development and commercialisation of cost-competitive 100% bio-based plastics for use in beverage bottles. Suntory currently uses 30% plant-derived materials for its Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands.

Anellotech continues to seek additional partners to support its development and participate in the future success of Bio-TCat technology. With Suntory’s strong interest in paraxylene, Anellotech’s technology provides a complementary opportunity for companies interested in using bio-benzene or toluene to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture of polymers and products such as ABS, nylons, polycarbonates, polyurethanes, detergents, and other aromatic-containing products currently made from petroleum.

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