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Renmatix and Virent collaborate on converting cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and packaging

7 December 2013

Renmatix and Virent announced a strategic collaboration to convert affordable cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and bio-based packaging materials. The two companies, both ICIS Innovation Awards winners, made the announcement at the ICIS awards ceremony in London.

Under the terms of the multi-phase development project, Renmatix’s Plantrose platform will be evaluated and potentially optimized to provide an affordable sugar stream for Virent’s Bioforming process for the large-scale production of bio-based paraxylene.

Paraxylene is a basic raw material used in the manufacture of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), an important chemical in the production of plastic bottles and fibers made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Integrating local feedstock processing with on-site commercial production will lower costs and increase the viability of using renewable chemicals in bio-based packaging and plastics for industrial and consumer goods.

Selected by ICIS as the Best Innovation by a small- to mid-sized enterprise, Renmatix’s Plantrose process produces affordable cellulosic sugars as the bridge between upstream biomass and downstream plant-based chemicals. An alternative to current petro-based materials, Renmatix’s C5 (xylose) and C6 (glucose) Plantro sugars are produced by an advanced water-based method known as supercritical hydrolysis.

In lieu of more expensive chemical and enzymatic routes to cellulosic sugar that are still in use today, Plantrose leverages supercritical hydrolysis to economically convert a range of renewable global feedstocks into the bio-based building blocks that can be used in everyday products like paints, diapers, laundry detergent, or bottles and other types of plastic packaging.

Virent’s bio-based paraxylene product, trademarked BioFormPX, won this year’s ICIS award for Best Innovation for Sustainability. Virent’s BioFormPX is chemically identical to paraxylene made from petroleum and allows manufacturers to offer customers 100% bio-based PET packaging, fibers and films.

Virent and The Coca-Cola Company entered into a strategic partnership in 2011 to accelerate the commercialization of 100% renewable, recyclable PlantBottle packaging.

(The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company are collaborating on the first interior fabric made from the same renewable material used to produce Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology packaging. (Earlier post.)

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