Anellotech announces $7 million equity investment

By Anellotech | November 19, 2015

Anellotech recently announced a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form D filing, stating that the company has received an equity investment of $7 million from a new strategic investor. 

The new, multinational corporate investor joins existing partners, Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Johnson Matthey, and other industry leaders. This demonstrates a strong interest in the development of Anellotech’s proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology (Bio-TCat) for cost-competitively producing building block aromatics, including paraxylene and benzene, from non-food biomass. The development of 100 percent biobased aromatics will meet growing consumer demand for products and packaging made from sustainable sources.

“This recent investment is extremely encouraging, especially when considering recent oil prices,” said David Sudolsky, president and CEO of Anellotech. “It indicates a bullish perspective on Anellotech’s future, and a strong commitment by our new partner for low cost bio-based aromatics.”

The initial $7 million is the first tranche of a total of $10 million the company plans to raise.  The remaining $3 million is expected to come within the next few months.

The funding will be used for the development of the Bio-TCat process, including the installation of Anellotech’s new, fully-integrated development and testing facility (TCat-8), which will be operational in 2016. This 25 meter-tall unit will confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale up, and generate the data needed to design commercial plants using the technology, planned for the end of this decade. The TCat-8 unit was jointly designed by Anellotech and its R&D partner IFPEN, and will use a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and Johnson Matthey.

The Bio-TCat process efficiently and cost-competitively produces bio-based aromatics, including paraxylene, benzene, toluene and other xylenes (BTX), from non-food sources.  BTX is used to make significant plastics, such as polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET), polystyrene, polyurethane, and nylon. By using renewable and readily available materials, such as wood, sawdust, corn stover and bagasse, the Bio-TCat process is less expensive compared to processes that use sugar-based feedstock, and avoids competition with the food chain. And, unlike thermochemical approaches where bio-oil is an intermediate product, the requirement for extensive, costly amounts of hydrogen is not a fundamental aspect of the technology.

Anellotech's competitive advantage is also derived from its use of a simple process – performing all process reactions in one fluid bed reactor where biomass is thermally broken down and then catalytically converted into aromatics. As a result, these bio-based aromatics can be sold profitably against their identical, petroleum-derived counterparts.

“Despite strong industry demand, there is no commercially available, renewable-based paraxylene, a critical missing component required to make 100 percent biobased PET products on the market today, nor other biobased aromatics needed for bio-nylon, polyurethane, polycarbonate, or linear alkyl benzene,” Sudolsky says. “Dynamic partnerships—and the strong support from a growing number of highly knowledgeable strategic investors—will enable us to meet this unmet demand.”