Ludwigshafen, Germany and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – December 18, 2013 – BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and American technology provider Renmatix Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will jointly scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass. The two companies signed a non-exclusive joint development agreement. The parties have agreed to key financial terms for future commercial licenses, which BASF can exercise at its discretion. The collaboration follows BASF’s $30 million investment in Renmatix in January 2012.
The Plantrose technology developed by Renmatix enables industrial sugar to be produced, at competitive costs, from a variety of non-edible biomass (lignocellulose) sources. The proprietary process breaks down lignocellulosic sources (e.g. wood, agricultural-residues or straw) into industrial sugars using supercritical water (water at high temperature and pressure). Industrial sugars are important building blocks for various basic chemicals and intermediates that can be produced, for example, by fermentative processes. The availability of these industrial sugars in sufficient quantities and at competitive cost is important to enable both environmentally-friendly and cost-competitive bio-based products. Incorporating biomass feedstocks as a first step in the value chain, creates a raw material change that can reduce reliance on fossil raw material sources like naphtha as principal feedstock.
Projects relating to the topic of raw material change make up one important technology field in BASF’s Research Verbund. BASF experts are engaged in identifying interesting processes for utilizing alternative raw materials, such as renewables, natural gas, and CO2.
“Raw material change will only be possible via process innovations that allow the utilization of alternative sources of raw materials,” said Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President of BASF’s competence center Process Research and Chemical Engineering. “It requires processes like Plantrose, which will be further developed in a joint effort, that enable the use of non-edible biomass as a chemical feedstock and which do not compete with food or feed production. The Plantrose process addresses our needs for renewable raw materials. It will help us to support our customers in developing solutions that contribute to sustainable development.”
“Over the past two years, BASF has made significant investments of time and capital to support our efforts at Renmatix,” said Mike Hamilton, CEO of Renmatix. “At Renmatix we are focused on supporting the emerging biochemical market by enabling progressive leaders to scale up Plantrose capacity to increase the global chemical industry’s access to cost-effective industrial sugars.”
Renmatix is the leading technology licensor for the conversion of biomass into cellulosic sugar, an enabling feedstock for petroleum alternatives used in the global biochemical and biofuels markets. The company’s proprietary Plantrose™ process challenges conventional sugar economics by cheaply converting cellulosic biomass – from wood waste to agricultural residue – into useful, cost-effective sugars. Renmatix’s supercritical hydrolysis technology deconstructs non-food biomass an order of magnitude faster than other processes and enhances its cost advantage by using no significant consumables. Renmatix is privately held, with operations in Georgia currently capable of converting three dry tons of cellulosic biomass to Plantro® sugar per day, and a world-class technical center in Pennsylvania.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of €72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.