Anellotech: Bio-TCat technology is for commercialization

100% bio-based, polymer-grade p-xylene produced at Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot plant was used by Suntory, a global consumer beverage company, to produce 100% bio-PET resin and successfully prototype PET beverage bottles used. as announced by the company on December 3, 2021.

Production of bio-PET, starting from bio-p-xylene from the bio-TCat Anellotech’s technology through the subsequent downstream separation, purification, PTA intermediate (purified terephthalic acid) and final PET steps was the final milestone to fully validate the Bio-TCat technology for the production of prototype 100% bio-based bottles. This follows more than 5,000 hours of successful TCat-8 pilot plant operation using pine wood feedstock to produce metric tons of BTX aromatics. To date, enough of the bio-paraxylene produced has been separated to enable a potential production of more than 5,000 500ml bottles from 100% bio-based plastic while fully meeting polymer grade specifications.

This achievement by Anellotech and its joint process development alliance partners IFPEN and Axens confirms their commitment to the innovative production of cost-effective renewable chemicals. Anellotech also partnered with Johnson Matthey for developing the Bio-TCat catalyst. Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot plant, built to develop Bio-TCat technology, demonstrates the performance of this efficient thermal-catalytic process that converts renewable non-food biomass feedstocks into flavor compounds. The Bio-TCat process will enable manufacturers and brand owners of aromatic chemicals to achieve environmental and sustainable product goals due to its low carbon footprint and renewable, non-food grade biomass feedstock. Bio-TCat Benzene can be used to manufacture a range of biostyrenes, nylon and polycarbonate, while Bio-TCat Toluene can be used to manufacture polyurethanes.

Anellotech and its exclusive licensing partner Axens are currently in discussions to commercialize the BioTCat process by identifying potential partners (including offtake) and a plant location for an initial commercial plant with a 500 ton/day feed rate. Axens has already prepared a ‘white paper’ process design package to match the actual plant site once selected.

“The competitive advantage of Anellotech’s Bio-TCat-produced paraxylene is its process efficiency (it uses a single-step thermal catalytic process by going directly from biomass to aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylene)) as well as the potential for a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to its identical fossil-derived paraxylene in the manufacture of PET, particularly as it generates the required process energy from the biomass feedstock itself,” said David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech.

“We are very pleased to announce this important step in our joint development, which fits in with our goal of developing new technologies and products for a low-carbon economy. It demonstrates that Bio-TCat BTX products can be used to produce key polymers that meet the needs of brand owners for sustainable products, paving the way for sustainable processes to produce key chemical intermediates,” said Jean Pierre Burzynski, Process Leader Business Unit at IFPEN.

“I am delighted to announce this great achievement. It validates the bio-paraxylene produced by the Bio-TCat process, demonstrating the market’s growing interest in sustainable products and paving the way for the realization of the first commercial plant. This is part of our strategy to accelerate the use of bio-based products and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the chemical value chain,” said Pierre Beccat, Axens Chief Technology Officer.