Johnson Matthey has joined a strategic Consortium focused on completing the development and scale up of Virent BioForming technology to produce low carbon bio-based fuels and bio-paraxylene, a key raw material for the production of 100% bio-polyester.

The consortium, which comprises Virent, Tesoro, Toray, The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson Matthey, will work together to finalise technical developments and commercial agreements with the objective of delivering a commercial facility to produce cost effective, bio-based fuels and bio-paraxylene.

The consortium will connect the key strengths and commercial opportunity of each member, who are all leaders in their sectors with a strong desire to advance competitive sustainable solutions.

Bringing sustainable technologies to market
The consortium will work jointly to develop the scale up strategy, including the size and location of the first plant, which will be underpinned by fuel and chemical offtake commitments. Johnson Matthey and Virent will form a technical team to conclude catalyst and process development, as well as the marketing and licensing of the resulting low carbon fuels and chemicals technology platform.

The Virent BioForming technology platform is based on a novel combination of aqueous phase reforming (APR) technology with modified conventional catalytic processing. The process converts plant sugars into ‘drop-in’ hydrocarbons that can be used in existing infrastructure for the production of chemicals or blended in high concentrations to make premium quality gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.

“This is a critical and innovative approach to address scale-up challenges inherent in the deployment of renewable technologies,” said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO. “We are delighted to share a common vision with a global group of respected industry leaders, recognised for their innovation and commitment to meet the changing needs of their customers who seek more sustainable products and services.”

“We are delighted to be contributing our catalyst and engineering experience and capabilities in support of this innovative project which further extends our portfolio of sustainable technologies. The participants in the Consortium provide a concerted combination of competitive advantage in plant operations, process technology, engineering capability and consumer innovation.” said Geoff Otterman director of Johnson Matthey’s process technologies division.