Renmatix, the leader in affordable cellulosic sugars based in King of Prussia, Penn., U.S.A., announced a USD14 million investment, led by one of the world’s richest person, Bill Gates, and French energy company Total.
Industry demand for competitive alternatives to petroleum-derived molecules is gaining traction, despite recent market pressures due to low crude oil prices. Renmatix’ Plantrose® process provides an enabling technology for profitable biorefineries. This investment in commercialising Plantrose will help drive towards the first wave of Renmatix licensees building Plantrose-enabled biorefineries in diverse global markets like Canada, India, Malaysia, the U.S. and elsewhere. In parallel, that activity will facilitate further market development in downstream bio-product applications.
“To effectively address climate change, we need to develop an energy infrastructure that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas and is cost competitive. A critical component in this effort must be to decarbonise the industrial sector. Another is the possibility of cost competitive biofuels. Renmatix provides an innovative process that is an exciting pathway to pursue,” said Gates.
Gates is joined in this funding round by Total, which after an initial investment in 2015, has expanded its investment and has additionally signed a licensing agreement with Renmatix for one million tonnes of annual cellulosic sugar production capacity, at Total’s discretion to build corresponding facilities. The license represents significant revenue potential for Renmatix, extending over the lifetime of the agreement.
“At Total, our ambition is to become the responsible energy major. We want to make low-carbon businesses a profitable growth driver accounting for 20% of our portfolio in 20 years’ time. Meeting these goals is what has led to setting-up and expanding our collaboration with Renmatix,” said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total.
The patented Plantrose process uses supercritical water to reduce costs in conversion of biomass to cellulosic sugars, the critical intermediary for second-generation biochemicals and biofuels.
“This continued progress marks the pronounced acceleration of a new, sugar based, chemistry regime. One that can go beyond conventional oil-based products for cleaner, more sustainable solutions,” said Renmatix CEO, Mike Hamilton.
“While we’re working with partners to capitalize on the vast opportunity for biobased transformation in markets as diverse as the U.S. and India, this investment from Gates and Total together – shows recognition of our technological achievements, and magnifies our commercial momentum. That acknowledgment and Total’s signing of the million-tonne license, are compelling indicators of our Plantrose technology’s maturation towards biorefinery scale.”