Axens, IFPEN, Anellotech to develop bio-aromatics production technology

Anellotech, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and its subsidiary Axens have announced a strategic alliance to develop and commercialize a new technology for the low-cost production of bio-based benzene, toluene and paraxylene, the companies announced today.

The new technology will use Anellotech’s process of catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of non-food biomass. 

The technology will address large-scale units and produce purified aromatics streams suitable for modern derivative production processes at a very competitive price with respect to their petroleum-based counterparts, according to company officials.

Based on Anellotech’s innovative and proprietary CFP technology, patents licensed from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Axens’ proprietary post-treatment hydrotreating process, this new technology will open the way to a competitive production of bio-aromatics from renewable resources with lower energy consumption and lower CO2 emissions. 

These drop-in green versions of widely-used basic petrochemicals are utilized as raw materials in the production of consumer goods such as plastic bottles, clothing, carpeting, automotive parts, as well as other everyday consumer and industrial products.

The goal of this co-development alliance is to combine research and development with commercial scale-up knowledge and resources to achieve process development and commercialization of the CFP technology in the shortest possible time.

Within the alliance, Anellotech says it will continue its research work at the Pearl River facility on the clean technology platform for inexpensively producing bio-based aromatics from renewable non-food biomass. 

Meanwhile, IFPEN will mainly focus on process scale-up and hydrodynamic studies at its Lyon site in France, and Axens will finalize development and basic plant design and prepare the technology for commercialization. 

It is expected that the technology will be ready for industrial implementation in 2019. 

Axens will market and license the technology globally and provide basic engineering design and start-up services, while Anellotech, Axens and IFPEN conduct ongoing research and development for continual process improvement and to support licensing efforts.

"We are extremely pleased to help finalize the development and commercialize this breakthrough technology which enables the production of sustainable basic chemicals and/or clean transportation fuels in a cost-competitive way compared to the traditional fossil routes,” said Jean-Luc Nocca, executive vice president of the technology development and innovation segment at Axens.

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