The Italian biochemical company GFBiochemicals and Atlanta-based American Process Inc., which is specialized in the development of technologies for the commercial production of sugars and ethanol from biomass, have entered into a joint development agreement to create the largest integrated cellulosic biorefinery in the world. “The agreement – both companies stated – is rooted in our complementary industrial operations and joint vision for a lower-carbon future”. The proposed biorefinery, located in the U.S, is expected to create 50-200 thousand tonnes per annum of bio-based products, addressing markets with a potential annual value of USD 10 billion.
“This agreement – Theodora Retsina, founder and Ceo of American Process Inc., said – will be instrumental in delivering the new biorefinery and introducing high-quality bio-based products to the market at commercial scale. It will exploit synergies between our two companies and bring other parties to the consortium to create a world-class integrated biorefinery. This will be a structured process, powered by both the learning from our own success and failures and those of others in this space. We are pleased to join forces with GFBiochemicals in our shared vision to develop a viable bioeconomy.”
“We are proud – Pasquale Granata, co-founder together with Mathieu Flamini of GFBiochemicals, said – to be working with American Process as we move to the next phase in our strategy. Over the past few years we have de-risked our patented technology and have proven that it can produce levulinic acid at a competitive cost to the oil-based equivalents. Together with American Process we will be able to scale up our production of levulinic acid as well as offering a larger variety of bio-based products to the market.”
Both companies, that didn’t disclose the value of the investment, will be active in manufacturing products at the proposed biorefinery site. These include bio-polyols, bio-plasticisers, bio-esters and bio-solvents manufactured by GFBiochemicals; and bioethanol, nanocellulosic products and sugars from wood manufactured by American Process.
The U.S. company and GFBiochemicals will be cornerstone members of a consortium to develop the biorefinery by repurposing an old industrial site that has an existing biomass supply chain. The global market for bio-based chemical substitutes is set to grow substantially as industrial and energy companies seek environmentally sustainable alternatives for their raw materials that can compete on price and performance with oil-based equivalents. For example, according to Stratistics MRC, one of the leading provider of market and business research reports, the global market for polyol, used in the creation of polyurethane foams used in refrigerators and construction, is set to proposed biorefinery will have the advantages of large scale, an established biomass supply chain, good logistics and the use of patented, proven technologies.
Founded in 1995, in 2005 American Process Inc. began to self-fund R&D on biomass-derived sugar technology. The company has successfully developed two technologies for biomass-derived cellulosic sugar and ethanol, GreenPower+® and AVAP®.
The construction of the demonstration plant for GreenPower+ technology, Alpena Biorefinery, started in 2011 and the plant started up the second quarter of 2012. In 2014 Alpena biorefinery hit big milestone by selling the first Cellulosic Ethanol RINs in the USA.
In 2013 the company led by Theodora Retsina celebrated the startup of the second demonstration plant for AVAP technology, AVAPCO/Thomaston Biorefinery, with a 1 ton/day cellulosic sugars production. On April 2013, American Process welcomed GranBio into its family. GranBio, a 100% Brazilian pioneer in biorefinery technologies, completed the acquisition of a 25% equity investment.