Johnson Matthey, Rennovia begin operations at biochemical plant

By Rennovia Inc. | July 21, 2015

Johnson Matthey Process Technologies, a global provider of advanced process technologies, and Rennovia Inc., a privately held company that develops novel catalysts and processes for the cost advantaged production of chemical products from renewable feedstocks, recently announced that they have successfully started-up a mini-plant for production of glucaric acid from glucose using jointly developed technology.

In March 2014, Johnson Matthey and Rennovia announced their collaboration to develop and commercialize production technology for biobased glucaric acid and adipic acid. Adipic acid, an industrial chemical conventionally derived from petroleum, is a multi-billion dollar global market, with major applications in nylon fibers and engineering polymers, polyester polyols for polyurethanes, and adipate esters for phthalate-free plasticizers. Glucaric acid, an intermediate in the production of adipic acid, is an emerging platform chemical with a wide range of applications in detergents and cleaners, concrete formulations, de-icing and anti-corrosion markets.

“The construction of a fully integrated mini-plant to produce bio-based glucaric and adipic acids using Rennovia / Johnson Matthey technology is a critical enabler for our collaboration with Rennovia. We are delighted to confirm the successful, on time start-up of the first phase of the mini-plant based on the jointly developed technology for the catalytic aerobic oxidation of glucose to glucaric acid. The miniplant is located at the Johnson Matthey Process Technologies R&D Center in Stockton, England,” said David Prest, managing director of Johnson Matthey Process Technologies Chemicals Business.

“In addition we continue, as planned, with the design and construction of the second phase of the facility based on jointly developed technology for the catalytic hydrogenation of glucaric acid to adipic acid. The learnings from this mini-plant will provide the design basis for commercial scale manufacturing facilities and will enable us to provide licensees with process guarantees,” added Prest.

“The successful operation of this mini-plant is a major milestone in the scale-up and commercialization of the first products using Rennovia / Johnson Matthey technology and demonstrates the strategic importance of our partnership with Johnson Matthey Process Technologies,” said Robert Wedinger, president and CEO of Rennovia. “We look forward to continuing to work closely together as they expand the mini-plant’s capability to include production of adipic acid. We continue to see this as an excellent way to accelerate the commercialization of our innovative process technology for the production of cost advantaged glucaric and adipic acids.”