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Sulzer licenses technology to produce commodity chemicals from biomass

Sulzer licenses technology to produce commodity chemicals from biomass
Photo courtesy of Sulzer

Sulzer and Swiss-based AVA Biochem have entered into an exclusive license  agreement to commercialize AVA Biochem’s innovative technology to produce  sustainable commodity chemicals from biomass. These are renewable and non-toxic  alternatives to fossil-based materials and serve to produce chemicals used in a broad  range of applications. Sulzer’s Chemtech division  will commercialize the licensed technology along with its proprietary key separation  equipment for bio-based products to offer a one-stop solution.  

AVA Biochem AG is a pioneer in enabling the decarbonization of traditional chemical and  adjacent B2B industries.  It is known for its proprietary COBRIS™ process (Conversion of  Biomass to Renewable Industrial Substances). The process turns sugar-rich biomass into a  renewable and non-toxic compound (the platform chemical 5-HMF) used to produce a broad  range of widely used chemical products such as adhesives, food additives, textile fibers,  packaging, films, as well as alternatives to formaldehyde used in chipboards.  

Sulzer Chemtech will commercialize the licensed technology along with its proprietary key  equipment for the purification of 5-HMF. Chemtech’s separation equipment is already being  used in the unique demonstration plant in Muttenz, Switzerland, where 5-HMF is produced in  different forms for a total capacity of six metric tons per year.  

The partnership supports the large-scale production of bio-based materials, enhancing the  sustainability of both the manufacturing and processing sectors.  

“We are proud to  expand our portfolio of technologies for the production of renewable, bio-based and  recyclable materials with AVA Biochem’s technology. This new solution, which includes our  advanced separators, is an excellent fit with Sulzer Chemtech’s offering. We look forward to  implementing this technology globally to support companies in the manufacturing and  processing sectors interested in improving the sustainability of their operations with this  unique, green system,” said Torsten Wintergerste, Division president, Sulzer Chemtech. 

“We strive to  create a circular economy that will contribute to a positive environmental future. We are at  the right time and place, with a suitable commercial and industrial technology at the ready.  Key topics like CO2 footprint, conversion of biomass according to green chemistry principles  are more prominent than ever. Mindful consumers are increasingly aware of biodegradability,  the impact of plastics and alternatives to fossil resources. They care about reducing waste,  recycling or upcycling,” said Dr. Christoph Kolano, chief executive officer of AVA Biochem AG.

“AVA Biochem AG pioneered the Hydro-Thermal  Technologies (HTx) for various applications more than a decade ago, accompanied and  financed by a group of private entrepreneurs with both a sustainability mindset and a long-term perspective. Together with Sulzer Chemtech, we are bringing proven fully scalable eco excellence to the table enabling sustainable and renewable technologies.” 

The technology serves the ever-increasing demand for circular applications in the chemical  sector, with companies looking for biodegradable products, alternatives to fossil resources,  and recycling or upcycling technologies to reduce their CO2 footprint and waste.