21. Jan 2020
BioBTX has successfully attracted the financing it needs to takes the first steps along the path towards the realisation of a commercial-scale plant to produce platform chemicals from waste plastics based on a fully circular and sustainable process. The new plant will represent an important asset for the north of the Netherlands.
Three existing and two new investors in BioBTX have stepped forward to fund the groundwork - including the further optimisation of the processes, technologies and products, plus various market studies – needed to prepare for the next investment round. Carduso Capital, Vries Beheer and Lynnovation followed up on earlier investments, whilst Groeifonds of the Economic Board Groningen and NOM opted for co-financing.
“This investment has given our plans a significant boost,” said Pieter Imhof, CEO of BIOBTX. “Our investors all believe that the north of the Netherlands has everything going for it to play a leading role in the ambition to move towards more sustainability and fortunately see our commercial plant as a valuable contribution.”
According to Imhof, the aim is to have a commercial plant up and running by 2023. “We know it’s ambitious. But we believe it is absolutely feasible, especially now we have the financial strength to prepare everything in detail.” That includes finding the right location, applying for the necessary licences and expanding the team.
“This investment will really be used to sprint to the next investment round to finance the plant.”
The Series C investment round for building the plant will commence in 2020.
BioBTX is an innovative technology provider for the conversion of end-of-life materials and biomass into platform chemicals, i.e. aromatics, such as benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX). These are essential to the production of high-value specialty products, such as clothing, carpets, construction materials, medicines, cosmetics and wind turbine blades.
BioBTX was started by regional entrepreneurs KNN and Syncom, with technical and scientific contributions from Groningen University (RUG). The company has developed the Integrated Cascading Catalytic Pyrolysis (ICCP) process, which contributes to a fully circular and biobased economy with a sustainable production of platform chemicals from end-of-life materials or non-food biomass. The unique integration of two steps achieves a high flexibility in feedstock and process conditions. The use of waste plastic or non-food biomass results in significant CO2 reductions, avoids incineration or landfill, and replaces the current use of oil as raw material.
The technology has been proven on lab and pilot scale with a number of patents and further IP under development. A production unit for liquid biomass with a 10kg feed/hr capacity has been operational since September 2018 with proven performance and catalyst lifetime. An additional unit for solid biomass as well as plastics & composites was installed in 2019 to demonstrate full circularity options with the ICCP technology. BioBTX was the first to make 100% bio-based PET.
Pieter Imhof: “At BioBTX we have a science-based and low-key pragmatic approach. It has enabled us to quietly take a giant leap forward towards the production of cost-effective sustainable aromatics. This will be a gamechanger. I am very proud of what my team and our partners have achieved.”
Image: Pieter Imhof, CEO BioBTX (photo by Corné Sparidaens)