Rivertop Renewables begins construction of commercial plant

By Rivertop Renewables | December 11, 2014

Rivertop Renewables, a Montana-based specialty chemicals company, has begun construction of its first commercial plant, located at DanChem Technologies Inc.’s  facility in Danville, Virginia. DTI, a custom manufacturer of fine and specialty chemical products, is expected to begin production of Rivertop’s sustainable, high performing, cost-competitive, glucaric acid-derived products beginning in the summer of 2015. At full capacity, the plant will produce up to 10 million pounds of product per year.

“Partnering with DTI for contract manufacturing both lowers the cost and speeds time-to-market for our novel performance chemicals,” said Mike Knauf, Rivertop’s CEO. “The volumes produced will enable us to not only meet the needs of our existing customers, but also enable us to unlock new markets with ample supply for testing and co-development with partners.”

Among the products to be produced will be Rivertop’s Riose detergent builder. Designed for the consumer segment of the automatic dishwashing detergent market, the sugar-derived product is an effective detergent builder and enables a lower total cost of formulation.  Detergent builders have several functions in detergents, the most visible of which is improving detergent performance by solubilizing hard water chemicals, thus preventing spotting on glassware.

DTI will also produce Headwaters corrosion inhibitor that states, municipalities and snow removal contractors blend with salt brine to help reduce the corrosive impacts of deicer on roads, bridges and vehicles. Derived from renewable sugars, the Headwaters inhibitor is biodegradable, cost-effective and consistently performs at high levels. It is a finalist for Materials Performance magazine’s 2015 Corrosion Innovation of the Year. Rivertop has supplied the Montana Department of Transportation with corrosion inhibitors for the past three winters and is expanding sales beyond Montana this season.

These products are based on salts of glucaric acid. The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized glucaric acid as one of the top 12 “biobased building block chemicals.” Traditional pathways of producing glucaric, other sugar acids and their salts have been costly, energy intensive and environmentally challenging, relegating their use to pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. By applying proven science to renewable resources, Rivertop is creating an abundant and far more economical supply of glucaric acid and other green chemicals and bioproducts.

“By leveraging our facility which has unique capabilities to manufacture these products very efficiently, Rivertop can accelerate its growth,” said Paul Bacon, President of DTI. “We’re looking forward to helping them serve a real need in the detergent industry for sustainable, high performance chemicals derived from renewable sources.”