Pearl River, New York – Styrene-butadiene rubber is among the target applications for Anellotech, which has developed a catalyst-based technology that produces bio-based alternatives to petroleum-derived monomer feedstocks.
Anellotech’s Bio-TCat thermal catalytic conversion technology is claimed to yield “drop in” green aromatics, including benzene, toluene and p-xylene, from non-food biomass.
A test & development unit for the proprietary technology is now under construction in Silsbee, Hardin Country, Texas, on the site of Anellotech’s operating partner, South Hampton Resources. Start-up is scheduled by the yearend.
Plastics packaging is currently the main focus for Anellotech, which has just entered into the new phase of a partnership to provide bio-derived para-xylene – a PET monomer feedstock - for Suntory Holdings Ltd.
Global beverage company Suntory currently uses 30 percent plant-derived materials in its packaging, and is aiming to develop a 100-percent bio-bottle through this partnership.
However, David Sudolsky, president and CEO of Pearl River-based Anellotech, sees wider applications for the process technology, including in the synthetic rubber industry.
“Anellotech and some of its alliance partners are already doing preliminary work to identify potential feedstocks, sites and operating partners for an initial commercial plant,” Sudolsky said in a 21 Jan press release.
“With Suntory’s focus on bio-paraxylene, Anellotech can now offer a unique opportunity to new partners interested in bio-benzene-chain derivatives. This includes nylon, polycarbonate, linear alkyl benzene for laundry detergent, and styrene for styrene butadiene rubber.”
Anellotech's other partners include IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Axens, Johnson Matthey - co-developer of the catalyst – and a multinational corporate investor, which is investing $10 million (€9.2 million) in the venture.
Interestingly, both Axens and IFPEN are in a separate partnership with Michelin to commercialise a process for producing bio-butadiene. This project, announced in 2013, is under the French tire maker’s BioButterfly sustainability initiative.