Sulzer Chemtech and AVA Biochem have entered into an exclusive license agreement to commercialize AVA Biochem’s innovative technology for the Conversion of Biomass to Renewable Industrial Substances (COBRISTM). This offers a versatile solution to produce 5-(hydroxymethyl) furfural (5-HMF), a bio-based platform chemical that is a building block for the production of a broad range of widely used chemical products.
AVA Biochem AG is a pioneer in enabling the decarbonization of traditional chemical and adjacent B2B industries, and it is known for its proprietary water-based Hydro-Thermal Process (HTP) COBRISTM. This turns sugar-rich biomass into 5-HMF, a renewable and non-toxic compound that can be used to produce commodity chemicals. These include adhesives, food additives, textile fibers, packaging, films and fine chemicals, as well as a possible alternative to formaldehyde used in chipboards. The solution can therefore support the large-scale production of bio-based materials, enhancing the sustainability of both the manufacturing and processing sectors.
Sulzer Chemtech, the leader in separation, mixing and process technology, will commercialize the licensed technology along with its proprietary key equipment for the purification of 5-HMF, such as falling film evaporators. These are already supporting operations at the unique demonstration plant in Muttenz, Switzerland, where 5-HMF is produced in different forms for a total capacity of 6 metric tons per year.
Dr. Christoph Kolano, Chief Executive Officer of AVA Biochem AG, comments: “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.” He adds: “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.”
Dr. Torsten Wintergerste, Division President Sulzer Chemtech, concludes: “We are proud to expand our portfolio of technologies for the production of renewable, bio-based and recyclable materials with AVA Biochem’s COBRISTM technology. This new solution, which includes our advanced separators, is an excellent fit with Sulzer Chemtech’s product and service 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.”