One major investor, Suntory, is using a 30% bio-based PET water bottle as it pursues the development of a 100% bio-based bottle.
Sustainability is on-point for brand owners and packaging vendors including in plastics markets where bioplastics development and applications are exploding. One key hurdle for broader implementation is to produce materials that are cost-competitive with conventional petrochemical-based plastics, which is the specific mission of Anellotech, a pioneering and self-described “sustainable technology” company. Based in Pearl River, NY, the company is gaining momentum through significant brand and industry backing surrounding its proprietary “Bio-TCat” Process that uses an efficient, economical catalyst. Bio-TCat allows the production of cost-competitive renewable chemicals from nonfood biomass to provide an economically viable path to sustainable packaging (the Bio-TCat pilot plant is shown below).
Materials made from these bio-based aromatic chemicals—benzene, toluene and xylenes, i.e., “BTX”—such as polyester, polyurethane, polycarbonate and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), are used in consumer applications for packaging, outerwear, automotive, carpets, detergents and more.
Inputs to the Bio-TCat process consist of non-food biomass such as wood or agricultural residues.
Beverage brand moving to 100% plant-derived PET
Anellotech is collaborating with strategic partners Suntory, Toyota Tsusho, IFPEN, Axens and Johnson Matthey for the development and commercialization of the Bio-TCat Process.
Notably from a packaging viewpoint, the alliance with Suntory, one of Anellotech’s principal strategic investment partners, began in 2012 with the goal of enabling the development and commercialization of cost-competitive 100% bio-based plastics for use in beverage bottles. Suntory currently uses 30% plant-derived materials for its Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands and is pursuing the development of a 100% bio-based PET bottle through this alliance, as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices.
Anellotech Founder, President & CEO Dave Sudolsky will discuss the company’s progress towards commercialization as well as the broader packaging applications for Anellotech’s innovative technology during EastPack (June 12-14; New York City) on Thursday, June 14 from 11:00-11:45AM as part of a free 3-day packaging program. He provides a preview in this exclusive interview with Packaging Digest.
What’s Anellotech’s most recent news or development?
Sudolsky: On March 28th, we announced a key operating milestone, achieving two weeks of continuous operation of our seven-story tall Bio-TCat-8 pilot plant (show above), producing aromatics (primarily benzene, toluene, and xylenes) from loblolly pine feedstock. This milestone further demonstrates Bio-TCat’s commercial viability.
Anellotech also secured an additional $6 million investment from Suntory Holdings Limited, which was part of a previously announced $15 million package. Suntory’s total investment in Anellotech’s program is now more than $30 million (see Anellotech's economical bioplastics get an investment boost, published January 2018 by PlasticsToday).
What’s the significance of Suntory’s investment?
Sudolsky: Suntory recognizes the social and environmental impacts that containers and packaging cause and considers the environment in the entire product life cycle—from planning and product design to transport and post-consumption recycling. The alliance with Suntory, one of Anellotech’s principal strategic investment partners, began in 2012 with the goal of enabling the development and commercialization of cost-competitive 100% bio-based plastics for use in beverage bottles. Suntory currently uses 30% plant-derived materials for its Mineral Water Suntory Tennensui brands and is pursuing the development of a 100% bio-based PET bottle through this alliance, as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices.
Why is it crucial that your feedstock is from nonfood sources?
Sudolsky: By using renewable and readily available nonfood feedstock materials the Bio-TCat process is less expensive compared to bio-based processes relying on sugar as a feedstock, and avoids competition with the food chain.
What’s a point you want to make to packaging professionals?
Sudolsky: Anellotech continues to seek additional strategic partners to support its development and participate in the future success of Bio-TCat technology. With Suntory’s strong interest in paraxylene, Anellotech’s technology provides a unique complementary opportunity for companies interested in using bio-benzene or toluene to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture of polymers for packaging.
What will be a takeaway for your EastPack audience?
Sudolsky: Anellotech’s Bio-TCat Process will enable chemical producers and consumer brand owners to further their corporate environmental sustainability goals and reduce their GHG footprint and carbon emissions. Our technology can play a significant role in helping companies produce sustainable packaging and materials. Bio-TCat’s cost-competitive advantage results from the use of non-food biomass and an efficient and economical catalyst as the only significant inputs.
David Sudolsky will be speaking on Thursday, June 14 from 11:00-11:45AM during EastPack (June 12-14; New York City) as part of a free 3-day packaging program that also include commerce challenges, a hands-on upcycling activity and more.