Thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology receives investment of $7 million

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  • Anellotech announces additional $7 million equity investment from strategic investor
  • Funding for fully-integrated development facility to generate data for future commercial plant
  • Operational by 2016

Anellotech today announced a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form D filing, stating that the company has received an equity investment of $7 million from a new, strategic investor. The funding will be used to further develop Anellotech’s proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology (“Bio-TCatTM”) for cost-competitively producing building block aromatics, including paraxylene and benzene, from non-food biomass. The new investor joins existing partners, Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Johnson Matthey, among others.

What is Thermo Catalytic Biomass Conversion (Bio-TCAT) technolgy?

The technology is using biomass as an alternative to petroleum for petrochemicals and can be adapted to a broad range of agricultural materials. The Bio-TCat process produces bio-based aromatics, including paraxylene, benzene, toluene and other xylenes (BTX), from non-food sources. BTX is used to make significant plastics, such as polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or “PET”), polystyrene, polyurethane, and nylon. By using renewable and readily available materials, such as wood, sawdust, corn stover and bagasse, the Bio-TCat process is less expensive compared to processes that use sugar-based feedstock, and avoids competition with the food chain, according to the company. And, unlike thermochemical approaches where bio-oil is an intermediate product, the requirement for extensive, costly amounts of hydrogen is not a fundamental aspect of the technology.

All process reactions in one fluid bed reactor

Anellotech’s competitive advantage is also derived from its use of a simple process – performing all process reactions in one fluid bed reactor where biomass is thermally broken down and then catalytically converted into aromatics. As a result, these bio-based aromatics can be sold profitably against their identical, petroleum-derived counterparts.

New development facility to be operational by 2016

The funding will be used for the development of the Bio-TCat process, including the installation of Anellotech’s new, fully-integrated development and testing facility (“TCat-8”), which will be operational in 2016. This 25 meter-tall unit will confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale up, and generate the data needed to design commercial plants using the technology, planned for the end of this decade. The TCat-8 unit was jointly designed by Anellotech and its R&D partner IFPEN, and will use a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and Johnson Matthey.

The initial $7 million is the first tranche of a total of $10 million the Company plans to raise. The remaining $3 million is expected to come within the next few months.

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