Elevance Renewable Sciences: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

February 19, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoHeadquartered in Woodridge, Ill., Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. is a high-growth specialty chemicals company that creates novel specialty chemicals from natural oils. Using a proprietary technology called olefin metathesis at our world-scale, 180,000 MT biorefinery in Gresik, Indonesia, the company creates high-performance products for use in personal care products, detergents and cleaners, engineered polymers, lubricants and additives, and other specialty chemicals markets.


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The Situation

Elevance is in commercial mode these days — working hard with partners on developing applications, and developing downstream demand for those product applications. So, the usual biobased drumbeat of R&D partnership announces, financings, plant ground-breakings and openings is less in evidence than a string of new product releases. Whether it is the Elevance Clean 1200 degreaser, Aria WTP 40, or Concert GC-350, it’s been product, product, product just about all year — and that’s going to be the yardstick, ultimately, by which Elevance and all its competitiors are measured.

3 Top Part Milestones


In September, Elevance announced a collaboration with E-360 to offer expanded customer support and service capabilities for Elevance Clean 1200 customers. E-360 combines a dedicated team of sales, technical and logistics professionals with a robust web presence, including the ability to place web-based orders, and access to expanded logistics support and services designed to address packaged product requirements.

In June, Elevance introduced Elevance Clean 1200, what it describes as “a superior-performing degreasing and VOC-exempt solvent that outperforms traditional and bio-based solvents for industrial degreasing applications targeted toward heavy manufacturing, transportation maintenance and repair operations (MRO), and industrial food processing.”

In July, Elevance announced a 25:75 collaboration with Genting Plantations Berhad — aimed at building a 240,000 MT metathesis biorefinery based on Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology, and will produce renewable, high-performance olefins and specialty chemicals that can be used in multiple end-product applications, including lubricants, surfactants and detergents. The refinery will be located in the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.

In February, Elevance announced expanded commercial availability of Elevance Aria WTP 40. The company said the high-viscosity lubricant base stock that combines the composition and properties of two key synthetic base stock technologies into a single, high-performance product designed to provide differentiated performance in broad markets such as engine and gear lubricants, industrial and hydraulic fluids, and greases is now available to customers globally.

Also in February, Versalis and Elevance signed a Memorandum of Understanding  to establish a strategic partnership to jointly develop and scale a new metathesis technology to produce bio-chemicals from vegetable oils. Versalis and Elevance intend to focus on jointly developing and scaling new catalysts, leveraging the significant progress of this technology that has been already accomplished by Elevance. In addition, the partners will assess the design and construction of the first world-scale ethylene metathesis-based production that will utilize renewable oils at the Versalis Porto Marghera site. This will also take advantage of existing infrastructures and production streams. The market applications of the future bio-chemicals production will be personal care, detergents and cleaners, bio-lubricants and oilfield chemicals.

Also in February, Elevance announced  that it selected URS Corporation to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for its second world-scale biorefinery in Natchez, Miss., ensuring the company remains on track to meet customer forecasts for its Inherent renewable building blocks in 2016. Under the contract, URS’ scope of work involves converting Elevance’s existing biodiesel plant into a new biorefinery.


Completion of construction and commencing commercial sales from World-Scale Biochemical Refinery — accomplished and announced July 2013

In October, Elevance announced that it has authorized the next significant stage of its second world-scale biorefinery in Natchez, Miss., in order to expand production of its Inherent renewable building blocks in 2016. The decision is based on the successful start-up and operation of Elevance’s first world-scale joint venture biorefinery in Asia, as well as robust customer activity and demand forecasts for the company’s specialty and intermediate chemicals.

The commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Natchez will produce novel specialty chemicals, including multifunctional esters such as 9-decenoic methyl ester; a unique distribution of bio-based alpha and internal olefins including decene; and a premium mixture of oleochemicals. It will have a capacity of 280,000 MT (approximately 617 million pounds).

The high-value performance specialty chemicals, olefins and oleochemicals produced at the company’s biorefineries will be used in personal care products, detergents and cleaners, lubricants and additives, engineered polymers, and other specialty chemicals markets.

The Natchez biorefinery will initially operate using canola or soybean oil; the Gresik biorefinery is now operating on palm oil. Both plants are capable of running on multiple renewable oil feedstocks, including jatropha or algal oils when they become commercially available.


1. Elevance Renewable Sciences Raises $104 Million in Series E Financing

2. Elevance Renewable Sciences, XiMo AG Announce Significant Advancements in   Technology for Metathesizing Natural Oils

3. Elevance Renewable Sciences and Arkema Announce Partnership to Develop, Produce Renewable Polymers

Major Milestone Goals

1. Commercialization of additional novel products from various collaborations into personal care products, detergents and cleaners, engineered polymers, lubricants and additives, and other specialty chemicals markets

2. Completion of engineering and commencing construction on the facility in Natchez, Miss., to convert it into the second Elevance biorefinery.

3. COmplete proposed plant in partnership with GEnting.

Business Model

Producer and collaborative partner

Elevance was created on the premise that a high-performance, renewable, capital-light, partnership-based business model will provide a unique market position based on a significant and sustainable advantage in the specialty chemicals market. The company has achieved rapid growth as a result and continues to focus on establishing unique partnerships and collaborations. Elevance has established feedstock, technology and manufacturing as well as market partnerships, working with innovative industry leaders to accelerate the production and commercialization of high-performance renewable chemicals.

Elevance is now operating its world-scale biorefinery in Asia, the first based on Elevance’s propriety metathesis technology and a joint venture with Wilmar International. Elevance has made renewable specialty chemicals for existing and potential partners commercially available, and is commercially supplying its partners with better-performing, cost-competitive renewable alternatives to petrochemicals.

Competitive Edge

By simultaneously producing a suite of high-value chemicals from any of several different feedstocks, Elevance’s biorefinery has a distinct economic advantage over other processes, as demonstrated by its ability to be profitable without subsidies. Elevance has a strong intellectual property position, demonstrated by the Nobel Prize awarded to Dr. Robert Grubbs in 2005 for his work developing the core technology, metathesis, which Elevance uses. In addition to its large patent portfolio, Elevance has extensive proprietary knowledge, deep experience from its leadership team and employees, and large, strong investors. Elevance’s business model of collaboration leverages the significant strengths of its partners, like Stepan Company and Wilmar International. Finally, the speed that Elevance is moving in commercializing its business creates a significant advantage.

Elevance completed the construction, commissioning and startup of its 180,000 MT biorefinery, the first world-scale biorefinery based on its proprietary metathesis technology.

The joint venture with Wilmar International, located in Gresik, Indonesia, produces novel specialty chemicals including multifunctional esters such as 9-decenoic acid methyl ester, a unique distribution of bio-based alpha and internal olefins including decene and a premium mixture of oleochemicals. The renewable specialty chemicals are now commercially available and are providing better-performing, cost-competitive alternatives to petrochemicals across multiple industries. Elevance is driving positive changes in the chemical industry at large by delivering products that improve performance and reduce environmental impact — accelerating the transformation of the petrochemical industry to renewable-based products.

Company website.

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