Anellotech has another Mystery Date

October 6, 2016 |

bd-ts-100716-anellotech-smJust when Toyota Tsusho and Suntory were outed as Anellotech investors, along comes another stealthy investor, who has put $1.5M into the company, according to this latest Reg D report from the Securities & Exchange Commission.

We swear, there are more black masks in Anellotechville than the costume department for a Zorro picture.

The investment comes just after the company’s TCat-8 development and testing facility, began commissioning activities on September 1st.

The 25 meter-tall unit is designed to confirm the viability and suitability of the Bio-TCat process for scale up, and generate the data needed to design commercial plants, planned for the end of this decade. The TCat-8 unit was jointly designed by Anellotech and its R&D partner IFPEN, and will use a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and Johnson Matthey.  Three technical experts from Anellotech partner IFPEN are now on site where they will be working side-by-side with Anellotech engineers for the next two years.

“When considering the current oil price environment, this is exceptional.” said David Sudolsky, President & CEO of Anellotech. “It signifies a bullish perspective on the cost competitiveness of the Bio-TCat technology, and a strong commitment by our new partner to support the development of bio-based aromatics.”

What do you get from this technology?

The Bio-TCat process produces bio-based aromatics, including paraxylene, benzene, toluene and other xylenes (BTX), from non-food sources. BTX is used to make high volume plastics, such as polyester, PET,, polystyrene, nylons and also ABS. By using renewable and readily available low-cost feedstocks, such as wood, sawdust, corn stover and bagasse, the Bio-TCat process is less expensive compared to processes that use sugar-based feedstocks and avoids competition with the food chain.

But there’s more to it. Anellotech has a one-step process — compared to the two-steps we’ve seen with other pyrolytic technologies — just the one fluid bed reactor where biomass is thermally broken down and then catalytically converted into aromatics.

“Despite strong industry demand, there is no commercially available, renewable-based paraxylene, a critical missing component required to make 100 percent bio-based PET products on the market today, nor other bio based aromatics needed for bio-nylon, polystyrene, ABS, or linear alkyl benzene,” Sudolsky says. “Partnerships – and the strong support from a growing number of highly knowledgeable strategic, brand owner investors – will enable us to fulfill this unmet demand.”

Well, who is it?

We think it’s the search for paraxylene, and if we were Coca-Cola, we’d be investing — given that Virent has been acquired by Tesoro, Gevo’s knee-deep into producing marine and jet fuels and lacks the ability to scale up in Silsbee, and will have to build more capacity in Luverne or elsewhere to produce at scale. And Coca-Cola had partnered up with Liquid Light, which has subsequently not advanced as a technology.

Leaving an open question mark around Avantium, which is the other horse in the plant bottle race. We’ll have to see how quickly their next step emerges and where that takes them.

More on Anellotech here via our Multi-Slide Guide.

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