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BP, Virent and Johnson Matthey partner on production of bio-based paraxylene

By Mary Page Bailey |

BP (London; www.bp.com), Virent Inc. (Madison, Wis.; www.virent.com) and Johnson Matthey (JM; London; www.matthey.com) have signed an agreement that will further advance the commercialization of Virent’s Bioforming process for production of bio-paraxylene (PX), a key raw material for the production of renewable polyester.


Virent’s Bioforming technology, which is being developed with JM, produces drop-in reformate product from renewable sources that can be used to produce renewable fuels and also processed into lower carbon intensive bio-PX, the feedstock for bio- purified terephthalic acid (PTA), using existing technologies.


As part of this agreement, the parties will work together to commercialise the BioForming® technology – BP will contribute technical resources and has exclusive rights to negotiate becoming the sole manufacturer of bio-PX using Virent’s technology.


Charles Damianides, BP’s vice-president of Petrochemicals Technology and Licensing, said: “We consider Virent’s technology to be the leading route to commercial quantities of renewable bio-PX that may enable BP’s existing petrochemicals plants to produce a distinctive product in support of our commitment to advance a low carbon future. In our petrochemicals business we have also introduced our PTAir product line, a low carbon PTA product, and we continue to work toward improving the efficiency of our operations.”


“We have been working with JM to scale up the BioForming process for production of renewable fuel and are very pleased to enter into this agreement with BP to commercialisethe technology for production of bio-PX and bio-PTA,” said Dave Kettner, President of Virent. “This is an indication of the flexibility of the BioForming technology to produce both bio-fuels and bio-aromatic chemicals.”


“JM is a leader in science that makes the world cleaner and healthier. In bringing this latest technology to market, we continue to apply our catalyst and process engineering expertise and capabilities to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. We are delighted that BP has selected this technology to support its ambitions in supplying renewable bio-PX. This is an important step in increasing the quantity of renewable feedstocks used to make polyester packaging and fibers. We will continue to use our science and engineering skills to facilitate wider adoption of this technology,” says Eugene McKenna, Business Development and Innovation Director, Johnson Matthey. 


 

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