20. Dec 2019

New flagship EU project focused on replacing toxic solvents with renewable alternatives

Biotechnology company Circa Group has announced it is leading the consortium for new EU project ReSolute – a flagship Horizon 2020 project set to develop the first commercial plant to produce Cyrene a new, sustainably-sourced, safer alternative to traditional, fossil-based solvents.

Building on previous Horizon 2020 project ReSolve, the project will build a flagship plant to create levoglucosenone (LGO), a chemical building block which can be used to produce bio-based solvent Cyrene in one step. The plant is expected to reach a production capacity of 1,000 tonnes of Cyrene per year, using feedstock from non-food renewable biomass.

ReSolute brings together 12 partners from 6 countries and it will provide new manufacturing and employment opportunities in product manufacture and downstream conversion in Europe.

Yvon Le Hénaff, Chairman of ReSolute consortium member IAR, the French bioeconomy cluster, said, “IAR, the French Bioeconomy Cluster, is delighted with the establishment of this industrial unit in France. We are happy to work hand-in-hand with Circa, a member of the IAR Cluster, on a successful ReSolute project, where we are partners and which is now fully on track - thanks to the announced funding from the EU. IAR is confident that ReSolute will have positive results and help create a European bio-based solvent manufacturing base.”

Circa Group CEO Tony Duncan, who co-founded the company in 2006, said, “Following the success of the ReSolve project, which was led by the University of York, we are delighted to now lead the ReSolute consortium with some great partners including Merck KGaA Darmstadt and Norske Skog. Traditional solvents such as NMP, DMF, DMAc and DCM are all under intense regulatory pressure, yet still being used in large volumes. Circa has developed five successful pilots – most recently a joint venture with Norske Skog – and we now going into industrial scale in the EU, with a project that supports the EU’s ambitious circular economy strategy.”

ReSolute Partners

Circa Sustainable Chemicals (UK, BE)
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt (DE)
Norske Skog Golbey (FR)
Will & Co (NL)
University of York (UK)
Talga Resources (DE)
Huntsman Specialty Chemicals (CH)
AgroParisTech (FR)
PNO Consultants (FR)


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