Anellotech announces equity investment, begins commissioning

By Anellotech | October 06, 2016

Anellotech recently announced a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form D filing, stating that the company has received an equity investment of $1.5 million from a new, confidential strategic investor. The new investor joins existing announced partners, Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Johnson Matthey, Suntory and Toyota Tsusho. This investment demonstrates a strong interest in the development of Anellotech’s proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology, Bio-TCat, for cost-competitively producing aromatics currently made from petroleum, including paraxylene and benzene, from non-food biomass. The development of 100 percent biobased aromatics will meet growing consumer demand for plastic products, children’s toys, laundry detergent and food and beverage packaging made from sustainable sources.

“When considering the current oil price environment, this is exceptional.” said David Sudolsky, president & CEO of Anellotech. “It signifies a bullish perspective on the cost competitiveness of the Bio-TCat technology, and a strong commitment by our new partner to support the development of biobased aromatics.”

The funding will be used for the Bio-TCat R&D program, at the forefront of which is the TCat-8 development and testing facility, where commissioning activities began on Sept. 1.  This 25-meter-tall unit is designed to confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale up, and generate the data needed to design commercial plants, 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.  Three technical experts from Anellotech partner IFPEN are now on site where they will be working side-by-side with Anellotech engineers for the next two years.

 

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 high volume plastics, such as polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET), polystyrene, nylons and also ABS. By using renewable and readily available low-cost feedstocks, such as wood, sawdust, corn stover and bagasse, the Bio-TCat process is less expensive compared to processes that use sugar-based feedstocks and avoids competition with the food chain.

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 biobased 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 bio-based PET products on the market today, nor other bio based aromatics needed for bio-nylon, polystyrene, ABS, or linear alkyl benzene,” Sudolsky says. “Partnerships—and the strong support from a growing number of highly knowledgeable strategic, brand owner investors—will enable us to fulfill this unmet demand.”