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Renmatix opens new research and development facility

By Erin Voegele | September 26, 2012

Cellulosic sugar manufacturing company Renmatix Inc. has opened a new research and development center at its headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa. According to Renmatix, the multi-million dollar facility serves to accelerate the company’s exploration of new sustainable feedstock sources, assist downstream customers in their transition to cellulosic sugars, and further enhance the economics of the Plantrose process to produce low cost sugar intermediates.

Fred Moesler, Renmatix’s vice president of process technology, stressed that that the new facility will enable his company to expand its capabilities with regard to new feedstocks, but does not represent a change in focus. “We’re maintaining our hardwood focus,” he said. “That still exists. We have no intention of slowing down on that. This is expanding our reach.” The new facility will enable Renmatix to expand its scope to investigate the use of alterative feedstocks, such as energy crops, agricultural wastes and municipal solid waste.

The research and development facility will house a wide variety of equipment, ranging from lab-scale to pilot- and demonstration-scale. “The focus of this is really expanding our capabilities that we already have in terms of trying to help us explore new biomass sources,” Moesler said, noting that that work will include both analytical and chemistry components. Once the pilot- and demonstration-scale equipment comes online, the facility will be capable of producing cellulosic sugars on the multi-ton per day scale, he continued.

Many of Renmatix’s downstream customers employ fermentation processes, so the company has also added fermentation capabilities to the new center. The fermentation equipment will allow Renmatix to work with those companies to help them accelerate the transition to cellulosic sugars, Moesler said.

“We’re very excited about the fact that we are continuing to add all of these capabilities in our new King of Prussia location, and we are excited that we get to continue our march towards low cost cellulosic sugars,” he continued. “This is just another one of the stepping stones to get there, and we are very excited about it.”

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., was on hand to tour the facility during its grand opening. “Small businesses like Renmatix are a key part of growing Pennsylvania’s economy and creating jobs,” Casey said. “Republicans and Democrats should come together to support policies that help these businesses create more good-paying jobs.”

 

 

 

1 Responses

  1. Dani

    2012-10-08

    1

    One of the companies that is selilng to the military is Solazyme (SZYM), now a publicly listed company, which is well financed and has many joint ventures with leading companies. It makes oil and chemicals from algae. At first, I thought there is not enough water surface to grow algae and this wasn't viable, but it can be grown rapidly in tanks. Some types of algae will eat phosphates and nitrogen compounds, that cause polluted, dead water, which would clean the water and produced oil. The reason why the military is buying this is because it has a research budget. The military strategically is also thinking about what if scenarios, i.e. can it use other fuels? Commercial airlines are testing the fuels too, so the military would be behind the curve if it didn't. It can use algal based fuels because they are compatible, because it is believed algae helped form petroleum deposits.See: Dr. Timothy Devarenne, AgriLife Research scientist with the Texas A&M University department of biochemistry and biophysics points out, “Oils from the green algae Botryococcus braunii can be readily detected in petroleum deposits and coal deposits suggesting that B. braunii has been a contributor to developing these deposits and may be the major contributor. This means that we are already using these oils to produce gasoline from petroleum.” He’s implying rather directly that green algae producing hydrocarbon oil as a biofuel production process is nothing new; nature has been doing so for hundreds of millions of years. The process of making it is not in the industrial stage; it is in the model plant stage, where experimental small scale production is done to research the best industrial process. So, no product is cheap here. Do you think when AT&T developed the first transistor it cost pennies even decades ago? DARPA was one of the first agencies (along with CERN) to develop the early Internet decades ago. The cost of that was buried in the research budget, but no doubt anyway here will think it was well spent. For that matter, when it comes to energy research, how do you think we got nuclear energy? It was mostly gov't sponsored. Why do you think light water reactors became the chosen technology so the gov't could have material for atomic bombs. Nothing new here folks about energy and the gov't. By the way, many of the companies are US companies using algal technology developed here. I'm not a liberal, and I don't think the government should fund the construction of plants, like it did with Solyndra, which is too risky. However, the DOD and DOE programs (in the later case I'm referring to the one's the Bush administration started) for alternative energy fund a small portion of equity while private equity makes up the bulk. The money isn't much as a percent of the department budget and is likely less waste than other things they do. A few decades ago, the gov't used to sponsor more research at universities, but now it's doing more with the private sector, b/c of the extra boost from private money it's not picking winners. This isn't so far from the prior nuclear research.Most of the commentors here don't seem to know the algal technology very well and assume it's just all bad, but with no specific facts. If you read much you'll see that the venture capital community has been pouring money into energy alternatives in the past seven years or so. Like all venture funding the % of losers outweighs the winners, but the profit from the winners more than offsets the losers. Someone's going to make a lot of money. Do you think you're smart enough to figure out who?

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