The search for cost competitive cellulosic sugars

Abstract 148

Fred Moesler,
Renmatix, United States

Renmatix produces industrial sugars, the cornerstone of the $150B and fast growing global renewable fuels and chemical markets.

Fuels from abundant, domestically sourced renewable materials hold great promise. Similarly, biochemical producers require affordable sugars as the petroleum-replacement for many basic chemicals; yet, little progress has been made in achieving large-scale production.

The challenge: unlocking the sugars inherent in biomass at a cost point that will enable the industry to compete on an economic basis with petroleum derived products.

These intermediate chemicals can then be used to make everything from plastic bottles, paints, tennis shoes, and tires. Using supercritical water—water at elevated pressures and temperatures—Renmatix is able to deconstruct a wide range of non-food biomass in seconds. The water-based process uses no significant consumables and produces much of its own process energy.

Current methods of breaking down biomass—enzymatic or acid hydrolysis—require expensive enzymes or harsh chemicals, and can take up to three days to yield sugars.

With significant advantages in cost and speed, Renmatix is able to provide cellulosic sugar affordably and on large-scale from feedstocks like wood and agricultural waste.

In this session, Renmatix VP of Technology Fred Moesler will discuss how supercritical hydrolysis provides a low cost alternative to traditional biomass-to-sugar conversion methods.

Supercritical hydrolysis is comprised of two distinct steps: hemi-hydrolysis and cellulose-hydrolysis, producing separate C5 (xylose) and C6 (glucose) sugar streams.

While supercritical liquids have an established history in industrial processes, such as coffee decaffeination and pharmaceutical applications, Renmatix is the first company to successfully yield sugar from biomass at significant scale. Already scaled 3000x in the past three years, Renmatix's process has attracted an impressive technical, executive, and investor team to drive commercialization.

A commercial facility with annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of sugar is scheduled to break ground in 2012.