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BASF invests in cellulose start-up Renmatix

Chemical producer BASF is investing US$30 million in a start-up company that will use plant cellulose to produce large quantities of low-cost sugar used in plastics


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January 3, 2012 by Canadian Plastics

Chemical producer BASF is investing US$30 million in a start-up company that will use plant cellulose to produce large quantities of low-cost sugar used in plastics

BASF’s subsidiary Biorenewable Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG is investing the money in Pennsylvania-based Renmatix Inc.

The BASF subsidiary led a US$50 million financing round, joined by new and existing investors.

According to a press release, Renmatix has developed a so-called “Plantrose” platform, in which industrial sugar can be produced from lignocellulosic biomass (wood, cane trash or straw).

“Industrial sugars are important renewable resources for the chemical industry and can be used, for example, to produce biofuels or basic chemical products and intermediates by fermentative processes,” the press release said. “This technology makes it possible for the first time to produce industrial sugar in large quantities and at competitive cost from non-edible plant mass.”

Renmatix is privately held, with a U.S. manufacturing operation in Georgia that is currently capable of converting three dry tons of cellulosic biomass to sugar per day.

“Thanks to the partnership with BASF we can now develop and commercialize our technology more efficient,” said Mike Hamilton, CEO at Renmatix. “We have already demonstrated the functionality of the Plantrose process in a pilot plant. In cooperation with BASF, we will be moving it to the industrial scale.”