Anellotech starts testing programme at bio-aromatics plant in US


Sustainable technology company Anellotech has started a process development and testing programme at its TCat-8 pilot plant in the US to confirm process economics and collect data for commercial design. 

The development follows completion of commissioning of the 25m tall plant located in Silsbee, Texas.

The plant uses a one-step process to make a mixture of benzene, toluene, and xylenes from biomass, using a process called Bio-TCat. 

Anellotech CTO Dr Charles Sorensen said: “We have made significant progress achieving major milestones with the commissioning of our TCat-8 pilot plant, including completion of multi-day long continuous test runs, and are now beginning the development phase for generating data necessary to advance Bio-TCat process commercialisation.

“We will also produce test samples of bio-based renewable aromatic chemicals for conversion by third-parties into bio-based polymer prototypes.” 

"The beginning of the TCat-8 pilot plant development and testing programme marks an important milestone in the commercialisation of Anellotech’s path to bio-aromatics."

Anellotech noted that the development and testing programme will generate bio-based benzene, toluene and xylene samples. These will be used to produce prototype samples of PET polymer for Suntory packaging and bio-benzene-based polymers such as ABS, polycarbonate, and polyurethane. 

A team of engineers and technicians from Anellotech and IFPEN will optimise process variables and generate data to further develop the process and to scale it up.

Commercial Bio-TCat plant design and process licensing will be completed by Axens.

Along with its development partners IFPEN and Johnson Matthey, Anellotech will also develop next-generation catalysts.

They will also assess loblolly pine and other sustainable bio-feedstocks at the pilot plant, and confirm Bio-TCat’s process economics at commercial scale.

IFPEN process business unit director Jean-Pierre Burzynski said: “The beginning of the TCat-8 pilot plant development and testing programme marks an important milestone in the commercialisation of Anellotech’s innovative and cost-competitive path to bio-aromatics.”