In July 2023, Norwegian renewable chemicals company Circa Group AS, the coordinator of the EU-funded ReSolute project, applied for patents for two new solvents for carbon capture processes. The solvents, named Furatech:1 and Furatech:2, were developed over the last 12 months from the project’s platform molecule, the liquid hydrocarbon levoglucosenone (LGO).
The chemical sector is currently facing a number of challenges that point to the need for better-performing and safer biomass-derived chemicals. LGO is a promising bio-renewable platform for the production of commodity chemicals. First identified more than 50 years ago as a product of the thermal decomposition of cellulose, LGO has attracted substantial interest as a biofuel and bio-feedstock.
As reported in a press release posted on Circa Group’s website, the two Furatech products have been tested across a range of new LGO-based molecules within the group’s research and development team. Furthermore, the two solvents have been designed for use in a number of current carbon capture processes. Discussions are reportedly in progress with Circa Group’s engineering partners regarding their further optimisation.
Protection a priority
“Applying for patents is a major step, and we are sufficiently excited about the performance of these two new CO2 solvents that getting protection in place as quickly as possible is a priority,” reports Circa’s CEO Tony Duncan. “Furatech testing has shown good CO2 capture performance across multiple cycles, as well as lower energy requirements in the desorption phase compared to current industry standards.”
Launched in 2020, ReSolute aims to further the development of sustainable bioeconomy value chains in Europe by converting waste cellulosic biomass into safe, environmentally friendly chemicals at the industrial scale. To realise this goal, the project has brought together 11 key actors from six European countries representing the entire value chain, from feedstock to market uptake.
Backed by this wide-ranging expertise, ReSolute ultimately intends to create a first-of-its-kind industrial plant and downstream value chain for the adoption of 99 % pure Cyrene™, a derivative of LGO. Cyrene™ is a safe, non-toxic bio-solvent that is a high-performing alternative to petroleum-derived solvents N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), dimethylacetamide (DMAc) and dimethylformamide (DMF).
The ReSolute (HIGH PERFORMING AND SAFE SOLVENT DERIVED FROM CELLULOSIC FEEDSTOCKS) plant will be located in France’s Grand Est Region and will scale up the current Cyrene™ production process to achieve 1 000 tonnes of output per year. As the press release reports, with the plant’s commissioning scheduled for mid-2024, further testing and trialling of Furatech:1 and Furatech:2 will continue in parallel.
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