German chemical company BASF has participated in a $50 million (€38 million) funding round with an investment of $30 million into biofuel producer Renmatix.
The process Renmatix uses to produce biofuels includes creating industrial sugar from lignocellulosic biomass such as wood, cane waste or straw. Using supercritical water—a state in which water acts as a solvent—Renmatix’s process is able to deconstruct a range of non-food biomass in a continuous reaction down to a sugar base.
Mike Hamilton, CEO at Renmatix, tells Biofuels International: ‘Unlike current conversion methods, which rely on acid or enzymes and take days to breakdown the cellulose, Renmatix’s supercritical pathway requires no significant consumables and reduces traditional reaction cycles from hours to minutes.’
Renmatix currently has a demonstration plant in Kennesaw, Georgia and a technology centre in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. The demonstration facility can convert three tonnes of woody biomass into biofuels each day and Mike Hamilton, CEO at Renmatix, says it is in the process of planning a commercial facility.
‘We’ll be announcing the location later this year and the facility will produce approximately 100,000 tonnes of sugar annually and will be located in the US’ Mid-Atlantic region,’ says Hamilton.
The company is choosing to build in this area because it is close to the supply of woody biomass and therefore the company will minimise its operational costs and environmental footprint for transporting the feedstock and the sugar.
‘Many of our potential customers and partners also have a significant presence in this region,’ Hamilton adds.
Part of this new round of funding will go to towards equity in the new facility, as well as towards the company’s feedstock operations.
‘The big chemical and big oil players, like BASF, will drive the adoption rates of renewable materials in the near future,’ Hamilton says.