VIDEO: Renmatix, Virent deal opens renewable market opportunities

09 December 2013 16:19  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--David Hitchcock, VP corporate affairs at Virent, said an agreement with fellow US biochemicals producer Renmatix is part of its strategy to become a global leader in providing renewable solutions for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging.

The deal will see the firms cooperate on the conversion of cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and bio-based packaging materials.

Their collaboration – revealed at the ICIS Innovation Awards event on 6 December – will optimise flows of sugar-based feedstocks from Renmatix to use Virent’s renewable-based technology for the production of paraxylene (PX), an important raw material for plastic bottle and packaging manufacturing.

“The global market for PX and renewable PET is growing. The PET market is expected to double between 2010-2020 and we believe that there is a strong market pull for a fair portion of that market to be bio-based.

"The goal of Virent’s commercial strategy is to become a global leader in providing those renewable solutions for PET packaging,” Hitchcock said.

PX is a basic raw material used in the manufacture of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), an important chemical in the production of plastic bottles and fibers made from PET.

According to the companies, integrating local feedstock processing with on-site commercial production will lower costs and increase the viability of using renewable chemicals in bio-based packaging and plastics for industrial and consumer goods.

Selected by ICIS as the “Best Innovation by a Small to Mid-Sized Enterprise”, Renmatix’s Plantrose process produces affordable cellulosic sugars as the bridge between upstream biomass and downstream plant-based chemicals.  Renmatix’s C5 (xylose) and C6 (glucose) Plantro sugars are produced by an advanced water-based method known as supercritical hydrolysis.

“Products derived from renewable resources are in great demand and that demand is driving significant change across conventional value chains. This recognition from ICIS reinforces that sustainable technologies, which were once the seed of a meaningful shift have grown to become an industry mandate,” said Mike Hamilton, CEO of Renmatix.

“Working with the right partners, like Virent, on the common goal of providing scalable solutions with affordable economics, we are pioneering the bio-based value chains that can meet those needs.”

Virent’s bio-based paraxylene product, BioFormPX, won this year’s ICIS award for Best Innovation for Sustainability. BioFormPX is chemically identical to paraxylene made from petroleum and allows manufacturers to offer customers 100% bio-based PET packaging, fibers and films.

Virent and The Coca-Cola Company entered into a strategic partnership in 2011 to accelerate the commercialization of 100% renewable, recyclable PlantBottle packaging.

“The market growth for sustainable products will be met by innovative technologies working in partnership with the world’s leading brands” said Lee Edwards, CEO of Virent.

He added: “The joint collaboration announced today between Virent and Renmatix in support of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle goals … aims to accelerate delivery of commercial volumes of renewable chemicals by integrating our world class technologies to achieve lower costs and higher efficiency from sustainable biomass based feedstocks. We are delighted and proud to be recognized by ICIS, along with Renmatix, in this year’s awards.”

"Our focus is on helping to advance breakthrough bio-plastic technologies we believe can be scaled and sustained,” said Scott Vitters, general manager, PlantBottle Packaging Innovation Platform, The Coca-Cola Company.

“The potential of combining Renmatix’s innovative cellulosic feedstock technology with Virent’s bio-based paraxylene process offers a promising pathway for further realizing our PlantBottle packaging goals.”

Additional reporting by Will Beacham

By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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