The Pyromaniax: Anellotech starts up Pearl River BTX Pilot Plant

May 8, 2014 |


Meets December 2013 commitment to be able to provide BTX developmental quantities to strategic partners.

Plant begins production of 1 kg quantities of BTX, now available to support Anellotech’s ongoing business development activities and strategic partners’ downstream programs.

In New York, Anellotech announced start-up of its pyrolysis pilot plant, and that it is making available kilogram-scale quantities of green BTX to strategic partners for downstream development. The Anellotech technology is able to work from a variety of renewable feedstocks including palm wastes, bagasse, corn stover, and, for the most recent production, wood feedstocks.

Using its proprietary catalyst, Anellotech’s single step catalytic fast pyrolysis process enables biomass to be converted in a fluidized-bed reactor into commercially viable aromatics, principally benzene, toluene and xylenes.

The company’s Pearl River pilot plant commenced successful initial operations in December 2013, an important milestone that the company committed to in March 2013.

At that time, Anellotech announced that it planed to make available large quantities (i.e. 100 kg) of green benzene and toluene to strategic partners for downstream product development purposes before the end of 2013.

More about Anellotech

Anellotech is the developer of a thermochemical catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFPTM) process for making aromatics directly from non-food biomass.  The company’s pilot plant operations are scheduled to commence in the second half of 2013.  It plans to offer kilogram scale samples of green benzene and toluene to selected customers in late 2013.

These large volume development lots will provide sufficient quantities for qualification of Anellotech’s green aromatics as drop-in feed stocks for use in downstream conversion into a variety of valuable derivatives.  This will provide early customer assurance that “green” plastics can be sourced from renewable aromatics produced from Anellotech’s CFP technology.  CFP produces xylenes as well as benzene and toluene, and similar sized xylene samples will also be made available.The BTX will be used by current partners in their downstream development initiatives, and for future partners to support their due diligence activities.

Anellotech’s newly-developed green aromatics products are ”drop-in” replacements for petroleum-derived aromatics and have use in a variety of valuable derivative applications. These uses include benzene for production of polystyrene, styrene butyl rubber (tires), nylon, polycarbonate, and phenolics ; toluene to make polyurethane; and para-xylene, for production of PET bottles and fibers. Ultimately Anellotech will participate in JV’s that will own and operate CFP plants, as well as license the technology.

More about the BTX group

In the world of petrochemicals, BTX stands for a platform class of chemicals — benzene, toluene and xylenes, critical for packaging, nylons, polystyrenes, rubber — even octane boosters in everyday fuels.
The absence of aromatics is the primary reason that HEFA fuels (made by hydrotreating renewable oils) are limited to 50 percent blends with conventional jet fuel — jet engines are designed for aromatics, and drop-in fuels are required to have them in sufficient quantities.

How they became known as aromatics is anyone’s guess, since they aren’t always possessed of a strong aroma.
The smell they give off? Really, when you get down to it — it’s the smell of money.

Not just money in the form of profit — also, quite literally, its in the smell of the kind that folds. Aromatics are a traditional ingredient in currency printing inks, used as solvents to adjust the viscosity.
Reaction from Anellotech

“Production of kilogram-scale quantities of  BTX is an important step in demonstrating the technical viability of the CFP Process, which completes all chemical conversion steps in a single reactor,” said David Sudolsky, founder and CEO of Anellotech, Inc. “With a strong base of strategic investors, we look forward to engaging with additional potential partners who are actively seeking a path to low-cost green aromatics.”

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