BASF is participating with $30 million through BASF Biorenewable Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG in the American technology firm Renmatix Inc. The BASF subsidiary led a $50 million financing round, joined by new and existing investors.
The technology company Renmatix has developed the Plantrose™ platform. With this patented process, industrial sugar can be produced from lignocellulosic biomass (wood, cane trash or straw). This technology makes it possible for the first time to produce industrial sugar in large quantities and at competitive cost from non-edible plant mass. “The Plantrose technology could allow us in the future to broaden our use of renewable raw materials while improving the cost effectiveness of our value chains even further. In the partnership with Renmatix, BASF is pursuing a new direction while simultaneously underlining its corporate strategy of offering even more sustainable solutions,” said Dr. Josef R. Wünsch, Senior Vice President Modelling, Formulation Research and Technology Incubation at BASF.
In the Plantrose technology, biomass is split into cellulose and sugar in supercritical water at high temperature and pressure in a two-step process. Since the Plantrose technology utilizes non-edible biomass as feedstock, it is not in competition with feed and food production. “Thanks to the partnership with BASF we can now develop and commercialize our technology more efficient. We have already demonstrated the functionality of the Plantrose process in a pilot plant. In cooperation with BASF, we will be moving it to the industrial scale,” said Mike Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer at Renmatix.
Industrial sugars are important renewable resources for the chemical industry and can be used, for example, to produce biofuels or basic chemical products and intermediates by fermentative processes. The availability of industrial sugars in sufficient quantities and at favorable cost is therefore important for the competitiveness of the products.
Renmatix, press release, 2012-01-03.