Bio-based aromatics developer, Anellotech, announced yesterday at INFOCAST’s Bio-Based Summit that it has entered the next phase of its strategic partnership with Japan-based Suntory Holdings Limited – one of the world’s leading consumer beverage companies with brands such as Orangina, Schweppes, Ribena, Lucozade, BRAND’s as well as major alcohol brands such as Yamazaki, Hibiki, Jim Beam, Courvoisier and Chateau Lagrange.
The partnership began in 2012, since then Anellotech received more than $15 million in funding from Suntory to date. The companies are now focusing on advancing the development and commercialization of cost-competitive 100% bio-based PET for use in beverage bottles. Suntory is already using bio-PET that contains bio-MEG for their Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands.
Anellotech is working on the development of bio-BTX from biomass, and the xylene part can then be used as the other key component for producing bio-PET. According to Anellotech, its proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology Bio-TCat can cost-competitively produce drop-in green aromatics including benzene and toluene aside from paraxylene.
Anellotech is ready to commence its new, fully-integrated development and testing facility (TCat-8) at its headquarters in Pearl River, New York, with groundbreaking scheduled later this month. The unit will confirm the viability and suitability of the company’s process with the help of its R&D partners, IFPEN, Axens, and Johnson Matthey.
According to Anellotech, its process is more cost-advantageous compared to other biomass pyrolysis process as it directly converts biomass to BTX in their fluid-bed reactor and it does not make a highly-oxygenated bio-oil intermediate product, which is often seen in multi-step pyrolysis processes, thus avoiding the need to add substantial amount of costly hydrogen.
Anellotech estimated the PET market at 54 million tons/year worldwide.
I will be doing more research about Suntory’s PET consumption and activities for Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-Materials newsletter. I’ll also have some additional information from my interview with Anellotech in the coming issue.