US Origin and SANS expand partnership to develop renewable PX from biomass

Author: Janet Miranda

2021/04/05

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US Origin and AECI SANS Technical Fibres announced an expansion of a partnership to develop Origin’s process to convert biomass into paraxylene (PX).

The partnership includes an agreement to buy carbon-negative polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to be used in a wide array of end products, including clothing, intimate apparel, footwear, and automotive sewing thread applications.

SANS is a wholly owned subsidiary of AECI, a strategic investor in Origin. The company makes thread for apparel and automotive applications.

The two companies will also work together to develop and commercialise new products based on Origin’s process to make renewable PX.

Origin’s process takes woody biomass and converts it into an intermediate that can be used to make renewable PX. The process is carbon negative.

Other companies have attempted and failed to make renewable PX. The feedstock would not only help offset greenhouse gas emissions, but offer a cost-competitive alternative to traditional PX to make PET.

PX is then used to make purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is combined to monoethylene glycol (MEG) to make PET.

If successful, Origin believes its carbon-negative materials will help revolutionise a wide range of end products, including clothing, textiles, plastics, packaging, car parts, tyres, carpeting and toys.

The company estimates that the market for their technology could be worth about $1tr.

In addition, Origin’s conversion process could provide stable pricing largely de-coupled from the petroleum supply chain, which is exposed to more volatility than sustainable wood residues, the company said.

“With SANS’s extensive reach into global supply chains across a wide range of end markets, we believe this partnership will result in a significant reduction in carbon emissions and will play a key role in Origin Materials’ mission to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials,” said Rich Riley, Origin Materials co-CEO.

SANS CEO Zach Zacharias said: “SANS is committed to converting at least 80% of PET raw material to green and environmentally friendly sources by 2025. The partnership with Origin Materials is completely aligned with this and demonstrates our commitment to enabling ‘a better world’ through our products and services.”

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood