Circa Group partners with iFormulate to launch biosolvent Cyrene


Biotechnology company Circa Group has announced a partnership with formulation science consultancy iFormulate, to support the upcoming launch of new biosolvent Cyrene.

cCyrene is a chiral dipolar aprotic solvent, a bio-based alternative to polar aprotic solvents such as NMP, DCM and DMF, which are under regulatory pressure worldwide due to their toxicity.

With a unique property set including viscosity, surface tension and polarities, Cyrene is an interesting prospect for producing advanced materials. Over two years of testing and trialling Cyrene with researchers and companies has yielded some promising results to date, showing Cyrene as a safer, healthier, high-performance alternative to traditional solvents.

Australia-based Circa, established in 2006, converts waste biomass into advanced bio-based chemicals, including the platform chemical Levoglucosenone, on which Cyrene is based, with its proprietary Furacell process.
Circa has partnered with pulp and paper company Norske Skog to build a prototype plant FC5, which will test Circa’s Furacell technology to produce Cyrene. By creating renewable chemicals from cellulose, Circa is extracting value from waste biomass and addressing a gap in the market by providing bio-based, non-toxic alternatives.

Collaborating with iFormulate will allow Circa to gain more insight into its customers’ formulation needs and help them develop new products.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Jeff Eaves, General Manager at Circa subsidiary company Circa Sustainable Chemicals UK, said, “The market understands there is no direct drop-in replacement for traditional, toxic solvents – therefore process and formulation trials are crucial for developing bio-based alternatives. As Cyrene is introduced across the market, we are grateful for iFormulate’s considerable industry experience and strong reputation as expert consultants to formulators across the UK and Europe. We look forward to using their formulation knowledge to support our customers.”

Dr. David Calvert, Director and co-founder of iFormulate, added, “Sustainability is a critical driver for many new formulation programmes. We have followed the development of Cyrene over a number of years and are looking forward to helping the Circa team as they work with customers across a number of the formulation sectors.”