US Anellotech completes commissioning of bio-aromatics pilot plant

04 January 2018 14:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Anellotech completed the commissioning of its pilot plant in Texas, which it will use to further test its renewable aromatics technology, the company said on Thursday.

The TCat-8 pilot plant relies on a one-step process to make a mixture of benzene, toluene and xylenes from biomass, using a process called Bio-TCat. It is short for thermal catalytic biomass conversion.

A team made up of engineers and technicians from Anellotech and IFPEN will now find the optimal process variables and generate data to further develop the process and to scale it up.

Anellotech, IFPEN and Johnson Matthey will also develop next-generation catalysts and evaluate loblolly pine and other renewable feedstocks at the pilot plant, the company said.

The pilot plant will produce test samples of aromatics that can be used to produce polymers.

If successful, renewable aromatics could provide the crucial second molecule, paraxylene (PX), that will lead to 100% renewable polyethylene terephthalate (PET), something coveted by such brand-conscious consumer companies as Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble (P&G).

Companies can already produce renewable monoethylene glycol (MEG) by dehydrating ethanol to make ethylene.

Because the Bio-TCat process produces a stream of aromatics, these can be used for other purposes.

The toluene and mixed xylenes (MX) can be used as an octane-boosting gasoline blendstock.

The aromatics could also be used to make polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyurethane,  among other polymers.

By Al Greenwood