The partnership, which began in 2012 has provided more than $15m funding, to develop and commercialize 100% bio-based plastics to make sustainable beverage bottles.
Orangina, Schweppes, Ribena, Lucozade
Suntory currently uses 30% plant-derived materials for its Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands. Its other brands include Orangina, Schweppes, Ribena, Lucozade and BRAND’S, Yamazaki, Hibiki, Jim Beam, Courvoisier, and Château Lagrange.
Munehiko Takada, head of Packaging Material Development Department, Suntory, told BeverageDaily, the 25 meter-high facility will become operational this year and test Bio-TCat process for scale-up, and generate data to design commercial plants using Bio-TCat technology.
“We are pleased with the progress Anellotech and its partners have made, which gives us confidence in their ability to develop and commercialize a sustainable and cost-effective process for producing bio-based aromatics,” he said.
The Anellotech alliance supports the development of bio-aromatics including bio-paraxylene, a key component to make 100% bio-based polyester (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET) for beverage bottles.
Anellotech’s proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology (Bio-TCat) cost-competitively produces “drop in” green aromatics, including paraxylene and benzene, from non-food biomass.
The TCat-8 unit was jointly designed by Anellotech and its R&D partner IFPEN, and will use a novel catalyst under joint development by Anellotech and Johnson Matthey.
First commercial-scale Bio-TCat plant
After verification of the continuous operation of TCat-8, Suntory plans to move ahead with studies to consider the development of the first commercial-scale Bio-TCat plant.
“By focusing on the development of substitute materials to replace petroleum in making everyday consumer products, we are expanding our commitment to reduce the environmental burden of beverage packaging, including reduction of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions,” added Takada.
Suntory joins Anellotech’s existing partners IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Axens, Johnson Matthey, and a multinational corporate investor, which has provided a $7m equity investment, the first tranche of a total $10m investment.
David Sudolsky, president/CEO, Anellotech, said it was already doing some preliminary work to identify potential feedstocks, sites and operating partners for an initial commercial plant.
Approximately 54 million metric tons of PET are manufactured globally each year.
Despite strong industry demand, there is no commercially-available, bio-based paraxylene on the market today.
By using Bio-TCattechnology, Anellotech and its partners are accelerating the development of bio-based paraxylene and other widely-used chemicals including benzene, toluene and other xylenes (commonly known as BTX) from non-food sources.
Anellotech continues to seek additional funding and strategic partners to support the development of the Bio-TCat technology and participate in its future success.
These include companies interested in cost-competitive bio-based benzene and toluene and their derivatives, complementing Suntory’s strong interest in bio-paraxylene.
The technology also appeals to refiners with aromatics processing capability or interest in aromatics as high-octane, non-oxygenated blend stock for gasoline, biomass suppliers and others in the supply chain.