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Circa Group and Valmet collaborate on scaleup of biosolvent production

| By Mary Bailey

Circa Group (Oslo, Norway) and Valmet Oyj (Espoo, Finland) have signed a Heads of Agreement to realize and optimize the Furacell production process at scale through the ReSolute project and future large-scale plants. Valmet will be the main process technology and equipment supplier, and actively contribute to accelerating the development of Circa’s large-scale production plants. The cooperation considerably strengthens Circa’s ability to build and deliver its plan to become a large-scale producer of sustainable biochemicals.

Following positive engagement and extensive work with Valmet over the past six months, Circa and Valmet are proud to announce that a Heads of Agreement for a long-term partnership has been signed. The work has upgraded the ReSolute plant to target an annual production of 1,100 tons of the biosolvent Cyrene, utilizing internal energy supply from biochar created in the process, enhancing the sustainability profile of the plant. Following the design upgrade, the ReSolute plant will very closely resemble a small-scale version of the larger scale FC6 plant. A long-term strategic approach to development of the Furacell process will reduce the cost and timeline risk of future plants.

The agreed long-term objective is to develop deployable 10,000-15,000 tons/yr Furacell modules capable of operating separately or in multiples, depending on local feedstock and supporting infrastructure availability. By doing so, Circa will deliver on its primary objective of reaching over 80,0000 tons/yr of Cyrene production by 2030, complementing the Valmet vision to be a partner of choice in the rapidly expanding biochemical markets.

“Establishing strategic relationships with strong industry partners is needed to deliver Circa’s ambitions in the current challenging global environment. We are very pleased to join forces with Valmet, which provides great support for Circa’s growth ambitions and leverages Valmet’s strong focus on driving the green shift. The partnership will focus on executing the ReSolute project, building expertise and allowing the steady development of FC6, our first large-scale commercial plant,” says Tony Duncan, CEO of Circa Group.

Valmet’s experience with fluidised bed boilers and biomass-to-energy solutions will be a significant resource in successfully realizing and optimizing the Furacell production process at scale. Valmet aims to be the equipment and process supplier for the biomass handling, pyrolizer and energy production portions and plant automation of Circa’s future commercial scale plants.

“Sustainability is at the core of Valmet’s business strategy and operations, and by providing experience and expertise to support companies like Circa, Valmet will be achieving its own goals converting renewable resources into sustainable results. We have been highly impressed by the team and ambition at Circa and look very much forward to working closely with them to realise their objectives,” said Bertel Karlstedt, President, Pulp and Energy business line, Valmet.

Following this agreement, Circa and Valmet are moving to execute the ReSolute project, and in the second half of 2022 will initiate conceptual engineering for the FC6 plant.