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Bio-based aromatics plant achieves commercially targeted yields, Anellotech says

By Scott Jenkins |

The viability of Anellotech’s (Pearl River, N.Y.; www.anellotech.com) Bio-TCat technology has now been proven by achieving commercially-targeted yields of aromatic chemicals, such as benzene, toluene and xylenes, in its TCat-8 pilot unit in Silsbee, Texas during six months of continuous process operations.

Process yields of 22-24% by weight of liquid products from loblolly pine feedstock were demonstrated. Supplemental carbon monoxide (CO) output provides potential for an additional 3-5% yield by weight of cellulosic ethanol via third-party technologies or production of renewable electricity.

The Bio-TCat reactor produces a liquid product containing over 98% C6+ aromatic chemicals directly from the MinFree-pretreated feedstock. After mild hydro-treating and purification, AnelloMate products – the family of liquid products made through Bio-TCat – meet all specifications for sale as chemicals or fuel blendstocks.

Anellotech is now planning the construction of its first commercial plant and is engaging in partnership and funding discussions with existing and new strategic partners. Engineering work is expected to begin this summer and once funding is secured, the next phase of construction will begin in the second half of 2020. The first plant will be capable of processing 500 bone dry tonnes/day of loblolly pine wood into 40,000 tonnes/year (860 BPSD) of products including benzene, toluene, xylenes, and C9+ aromatics to use as fuels or for making bio-based plastics for packaging and consumer products. 30,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide (CO) and other by-product gases will also be produced, for use in generating renewable electricity or used for chemical feedstock.

Anellotech and its partner Axens (Paris, France; www.axens.net) are looking forward to licensing much larger plants following this first commercialization. These would be five-times bigger, producing 200-250,000 tons/year (4,000-5,000 BPSD) of aromatics and 150,000 tons of CO. This rapidly expands the availability of bio-aromatics for chemicals and fuels, providing cost-competitive solutions needed by refiners and brand owners looking to make a difference in their carbon footprints.

“We are very excited about the prospects of deploying the Bio-TCat technology commercially under license in the coming years. We expect to bring non-food, renewable solutions to the fuels and chemicals markets for products that meet sustainability goals and provide attractive returns under competitive market conditions,” affirmed Pierre Beccat, Executive Vice-President Technology Development and Innovation at Axens.

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