UPM and Renmatix Inc. have entered into a non- exclusive joint development agreement (JDA) in the area of biochemicals. Under terms of the JDA both companies will further develop Renmatix’s water-based PlantroseTM process to convert woody biomass into low-cost sugar intermediates for subsequent downstream processing into biochemicals. Offering cost-competitive bio-alternatives for select petrochemicals on an industrial scale is the long term goal of this initiative.
“We are very excited about this truly collaborative endeavor. It combines UPM’s core competencies in sustainable sourcing and efficient industrial processing of wood, with Renmatix’s unique conversion technology”, noted Michael Duetsch, Director of Biochemicals, at UPM. “Access to second generation, lignocellulosic, sugars through a process that uses almost no consumables is a crucial factor in Plantrose technology’s attractiveness.”
The Plantrose process employs water at very high temperatures and pressures to breakdown biomass through supercritical hydrolysis. Under such conditions water can act as both a powerful solvent and catalyst, creating rapid reactions.
“We believe this pioneering approach leads to real cost advantages over conventional methods. Our growing relationship with UPM gives Renmatix an opportunity to support them expanding the Biofore story”, commented Mike Hamilton, CEO of Renmatix. “Renmatix, a U.S. based technology provider, takes great pride in working with global companies across the emerging bio-value chains. It reinforces the demand that exists for licensing Plantrose technology as the bridge between sustainable sources of upstream biomass, and downstream manufacturing of biochemicals and fuels.”
“The joint development agreement with Renmatix is another milestone in the implementation of our biochemicals strategy and UPM’s Biofore vision. The co-operation further strengthens our position as the frontrunner in the innovation-driven integration of bio and forest industries”, adds Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, New Businesses & Development, UPM.
UPM New Businesses and Development (NBD)
UPM New Businesses and Development (NBD) is an important part of UPM’s renewal and Biofore strategy. The objective of NBD is to provide added value to renewable wood raw material by developing ideas into new products and businesses. The key projects are biocomposites, biofibrils and biochemicals.
About UPM – The Biofore Company
UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials. The Group employs around 22,000 people. UPM is present in 67 countries and has production units in 17 countries. UPM’s annual sales exceed EUR 10 billion. UPM’s shares are listed on the Helsinki stock exchange.
Renmatix is the leading manufacturer of cellulosic sugar, an enabling feedstock for petroleum alternatives used in the global biochemical and biofuels markets. The company’s proprietary PlantroseTM process challenges conventional sugar economics by cheaply converting cellulosic biomass – from wood waste to agricultural residue – into useful, cost-effective sugars. Renmatix’s supercritical hydrolysis technology deconstructs non-food biomass an order of magnitude faster than other processes and enhances its cost advantage by using no significant consumables. Renmatix is privately held, with operations in Georgia (USA) currently capable of converting three dry tons of cellulosic biomass to Plantro® sugar per day, and a world-class technical center in Pennsylvania (USA).
Source: UPM - The Biofore Company, press release, 2013-06-11.