Aromatics Ascending: IFP Energies Nouvelles, Axens to accelerate bio-BTX via Anellotech partnership

December 17, 2015 |

BD-121815-Anellotech-cover-smConstruction now complete on development, testing plant; installation to commence in search of cost-effective bio-based aromatics.

In New York, Anellotech, IFPEN and Axens said they have completed construction on a fully-integrated development and testing plant, “TCat-8”, for the production of bio-based paraxylene, benzene, toluene, ortho-xylene and meta-xylene (BTX), from non-food sources. Anellotech is now ready to commence installation onsite. Operational in 2016, this 82 foot- high unit will confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale-up.

With the news, Anellotech, IFP Energies nouvelles, and Axens said they are expanding their partnership and accelerating the development and commercialization of bio-based BTX molecule production.

As part of a multi-year R&D collaboration with Anellotech, IFPEN will be integral in the commissioning and operation of TCat-8, leading to commercialization and exclusive licensing of Bio-TCat technology by Axens. In addition to extensive activities at its R&D center in Solaize, France, IFPEN will dedicate three, full-time senior engineers and technical experts at Anellotech’s U.S. location for two years to support the efforts, beginning in 2016. Anellotech’s highly collaborative program leverages IFPEN’s extensive and comprehensive process development experience, and its specific expertise in catalytic reactor modeling, catalyst regenerator design and aromatics processing.

IFPEN’s collaboration with Anellotech is consistent with its 2010 name change from Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) to IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN). The new name reflects its increasing focus on “new energy” technologies. In fact, IFPEN’s nascent research programs on renewable energies focus on three major priorities: producing fuels from biomass; using biomass for the production of major chemical intermediates; and developing wind and ocean energies to produce electricity without associated CO2 emissions.

IFPEN’s interest in green chemicals stems from its commitment to reducing oil dependency as well as combatting global warming due to CO2 emissions.  It is building an impressive portfolio of green processes, including Futurol (cellulosic ethanol) and Atol -C2 (Ethanol to Ethylene) for further conversion into bio-MEG), two processes already licensed worldwide by Axens. R&D programs include BioButterfly (bio-butadiene, an on-going joint development with Michelin and Axens) and BioTfuel (lignocellulosic bio-diesel, an ongoing joint development with Total, CEA, Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions, Avril and Axens), complemented with the development of the Bio-TCat process for bio-aromatics.


IFPEN’s commitment of resources comes on the heels of Anellotech’s November announcement of a new $7 million investment (the first tranche of a total of $10 million) from a major multinational corporate partner, as momentum continues to build on the project.

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