US-based Anellotech the lowest cost bio-paraxylene producer – Nexant

29 March 2012 04:12  [Source: ICIS news]

ARLINGTON (ICIS)--US-based Anellotech is the lowest-cost contender among current bio-paraxylene (PX) developers based on the latest public information available on bio-PX technologies, a US consultant said late on Wednesday.

William Tittle, principal and director of strategy at US consulting firm Nexant said US firms Gevo, Virent and Anellotech are the three main contenders in the development of bio-based PX.

Tittle was speaking at the BioPlastek forum held at Arlington in Virginia on 28-30 March.

Anellotech, which uses a fast-fluidized bed catalytic process to convert biomass to benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX), has the lowest cost of production compared to current integrated naphtha-to-PX production cost and estimated bio-PX processing costs of Gevo and Virent technologies, Tittle said.

“[However], Anellotech is still at a small demonstration scale stage and can only convert C6 sugars, while Virent and Gevo are already much farther along in terms of commercialization stage,” Tittle added.

Virent’s advantage, according to Nexant, is in being able to convert both C5 and C6 sugars to aromatics via chemical catalytic conversion.

Gevo followed a three-step process to convert fermentation-based isobutanol (IBA) to PX.

“Gevo’s process is operating commercially but it still needs to demonstrate the ring closure process step to PX at the commercial level,” Tittle said.

He added that the Netherlands-based Avantium, which is developing a process that produces furan dicarboxylic acid – an alternative to PX feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA).

“Avantium has the challenges of any new molecule in an established application.

“Avantium will need an extensive registration process under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over some concerns in furans,” according to Tittle.

“The company will also need to demonstrate seamless integration of its polyethylene furanoate in the current one trillion dollar plastic fabrication infrastructure.”

Avantium has developed polyethylene furanoate as an alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The components of polyethylene furanoate include bio-based ethylene glycol (EG) and furan dicarboxylic acid.

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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