Renmatix: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

February 25, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoRenmatix is a technology licensor that enables the production of petrochemicals from plants. The company’s water-based Plantrose process is the lowest cost method for converting a wide range of non-food biomass into cellulosic sugars, used in the global chemical and fuels markets.

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 a world-class technical center in Pennsylvania and production operations based at the Integrated Plantrose Complex (IPC) in Georgia.

Rankings

50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: #33, 2014/15

30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals & Materials: #27, 2014/15

The Situation

As we wrote in December 2013, “Here comes the whale”. BASF and Renmatix signed a non-exclusive joint development agreement to scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass. 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 train is out of the station,” said Renmatix CEO Mike Hamilton, “in terms of the demand for renewable materials. What has to happen now is to enable very cost effective, sustainable solutions to meet that demand.”

The news followed closely on an announcement by Renmatix and Virent of a strategic collaboration to convert affordable cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and bio-based packaging materials. Specifically, under the terms of the multi-phase development project, Renmatix’s Plantrose platform will be evaluated and potentially optimized to provide an affordable sugar stream for Virent’s Bioforming process for the large-scale production of bio-based paraxylene.

Major Investors

BASF (BAS:Xetra)

Waste Management (WM: NYSE)

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Top Past Milestones

  • Acquired the intellectual property rights and know-how of Sweden-based REAC Fuel, expanding Renmatix’s footprint in low-cost biomass hydrolysis conversion technology
  • Raised $75M in Series C from strategic investors BASF and Waste Management, as well as new and existing venture investors
  • Entered formal JDA with BASF to jointly scale the Plantrose™ process for the production of industrial sugars from lignocellulosic biomass
  • Entered formal JDA with UPM to support its sugar to biochemical strategy and Biofore vision by licensing Plantrose technology.

Renmatix acquired the intellectual property rights and know-how of Sweden based, REAC Fuel in December of 2014. Prior to the acquisition, Renmatix had already established a robust Intellectual Property portfolio including: 25 patents, and 225 total applications, which include 176 national filings that can mature into patents; 16 of these 25 patents were issued in the past year. The REAC IP portfolio will expand Renmatix’s current cellulosic technology holdings and rights on supercritical hydrolysis in support of its capital light technology licensing model.

In December 2013, BASF and Renmatix entered into a joint development agreement to scale Renmatix’s Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass. The joint effort is driven by BASF’s appetite for “renewable raw material”.

In June 2013, UPM and Renmatix entered into a joint development agreement in the area of biochemicals. For those less familiar with the giants of the European pulp & paper industry, the Finland-based UPM is right at the top of the stack — the company’s symbol, the griffin, perched atop many of the signature pulp & paper mills around the world.

Some time ago, UPM had set out on an ambitious Biofore strategy with a clear goal of leveraging its strength in aggregation and processing of wood resources into a series of new ventures in biofuels as well as renewable chemicals.

Impressively, and rarely for the cash-strapped pulp & paper sector, UPM had utilized their balance sheet in developing the world’s first wood-based renewable diesel refinery in Lappeenranta, starting construction last summer. UPM’s Lappeenranta biorefinery, constructed without any public funding, will produce diesel out of crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production. The process is based on hydrotreatment and production had started in the summer of 2014 — initial capacity in the sub-10 million gallon range but with a potential capacity to expand out to 55 million gallons per year.

 

In January 2013, Renmatix commissioned its BioFlex Conversion Unit, a multiple-feedstock processing facility in King of Prussia that converts hardwood, perennial grasses, agricultural residues, softwoods and waste streams into cellulosic sugars for Renmatix’s downstream fuel and chemical strategic partners. Renmatix CEO Mike Hamilton referred to this new wave as “farmistry” — reflecting a complimentary interest in agriculture and chemistry — driving the creation of added value for many types of locally grown biomass.

Major Milestone Goals

  • Continued execution on all JDA milestones to enable partners’ investment decisions, and break ground on Bioneer commercial facility (first Plantrose enabled biorefinery)
  • Deliver on current license agreements and execute additional licenses for proliferation of the Plantrose technology globally
  • Continue broadening the scope of qualified feedstocks, industry partners, & strategic investors that support and demonstrate Renmatix’s active commercialization

Business Model

Renmatix has and will continue to license Plantrose technology to partners both upstream (feedstock) and downstream (sugar users) on a non-exclusive basis.

Competitive Edge

Renmatix produces the lowest-cost cellulosic sugars from a variety of feedstocks. Its Plantrose process uses water at elevated temperatures and pressures to break down biomass in seconds, rather than hours, and without any significant consumables. With low operating and capital costs, Renmatix will be competitive with corn and cane based sugar at its first commercial facility. To date, Plantro sugars have been successfully converted into more than a dozen chemicals and fuels by numerous downstream partners such as BASF and UPM.

Company website

 

 

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