Rivertop Renewables to start commercial-scale production in 2015

December 10, 2014 |

rivertop-logoContract manufacturing agreement with DTI speeds Rivertop’s time to market for its novel performance chemicals

In Montana, Rivertop Renewables announced that it has begun construction of its first commercial plant, located at DanChem Technologies’ facility in Danville, Virginia.

DTI, a custom manufacturer of fine and specialty chemical products, is expected to begin production of Rivertop’s sustainable, high performing, cost-competitive, glucaric acid-derived products beginning in the summer of 2015. At full capacity, the plant will produce up to 10 million pounds of product per year.

The initial product line-up

Rivertop’s Riose detergent builder. Designed for the consumer segment of the automatic dishwashing detergent market, the sugar-derived product is an effective detergent builder and enables a lower total cost of formulation.  Detergent builders have several functions in detergents, the most visible of which is improving detergent performance by solubilizing hard water chemicals, thus preventing spotting on glassware.

rivertop-2Headwaters corrosion inhibitor. States, municipalities and snow removal contractors can blend Headwaters with salt brine to help reduce the corrosive impacts of deicer on roads, bridges and vehicles. Derived from renewable sugars, the Headwaters inhibitor is biodegradable, cost-effective and consistently performs at high levels. It is a finalist for Materials Performance magazine’s 2015 Corrosion Innovation of the Year. Rivertop has supplied the Montana Department of Transportation with corrosion inhibitors for the past three winters and is expanding sales beyond Montana this season.

More about Rivertop and its process

The company was recently voted the #3 Hottest Small Comnpany in th Advanced Bioeconomy by the Digest’s readers.

These products are based on salts of glucaric acid. The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized glucaric acid as one of the top 12 “biobased building block chemicals.” Traditional pathways of producing glucaric, other sugar acids and their salts have been costly, energy intensive and environmentally challenging, relegating their use to pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. By applying proven science to renewable resources, Rivertop is creating an abundant and far more economical supply of glucaric acid and other green chemicals and bioproducts.

Rivertop’s Montana Headwaters contracts

In September, we reported that the Montana Department of Transportation selected Rivertop to supply the Headwaters 40F corrosion inhibitor to reduce the corrosive impacts of the low-cost salt de-icer on roads, bridges and vehicles. This is the fourth consecutive year that Rivertop has come up with a winning bid for MDT. Derived from renewable sugars, the Headwaters inhibitor has been demonstrated to perform with a high level of consistency and is cost-effective.

The MDT and other highway departments across the country are increasing their use of brine rather than solid road salt to prevent and eliminate ice and snow build-up on winter roads. Salt brine is inexpensive to produce and easy to apply, melts ice and snow on contact, and can be inhibited against corrosion. The MDT applied over 5 million gallons of brine during the past winter.

“Winning a competitive bid three years in a row is a testament to the quality and performance of our product, as well as our ability to meet MDT’s cost imperatives,” said Mike Knauf, Chief Executive Officer of Rivertop. “By utilizing the Headwaters inhibitor, MDT can help ensure the safety of our state’s drivers while reducing the impact of salt brine on vehicles and infrastructure as well as the pristine natural environment Montanans cherish.”

Rivertop’s big capital raise


In April, we reported that Rivertop had raised $26 million in its Series B investment round from Cargill, First Green Partners and existing investors. AT the time, the company said that it would initially focus on the dishwasher detergent and corrosion inhibitor markets — but would explore additional opportunities from among several large industries including home and personal care products, oil and gas, building and infrastructure, agriculture and food.

At the time we noted that, also last spring, ADM committed to a $25 million equity investment in Rennovia, which develops catalysts and processes for the cost-advantaged production of renewable chemicals, and has an initial focus on bio-based adipic acid and glucaric acid. So, there’s been a sense of “gold rush times” in the glucaric sector.

Reaction from the partners

“Partnering with DTI for contract manufacturing both lowers the cost and speeds time-to-market for our novel performance chemicals,” said Mike Knauf, Rivertop’s CEO. “The volumes produced will enable us to not only meet the needs of our existing customers, but also enable us to unlock new markets with ample supply for testing and co-development with partners.”

“By leveraging our facility which has unique capabilities to manufacture these products very efficiently, Rivertop can accelerate its growth,” said Paul Bacon, President of DTI. “We’re looking forward to helping them serve a real need in the detergent industry for sustainable, high performance chemicals derived from renewable sources.”

About Rivertop Renewables

About DanChem Technologies

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