Renmatix has announced a $14 million investment led by Bill Gates. The company has developed a process called Plantrose that produces cellulosic sugars that can be used to produce bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemcals. The monies raised will be used, in part, to commercialize Plantrose through license sales.
“To effectively address climate change, we need to develop an energy infrastructure that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas and is cost competitive,” said Gates. “A critical component in this effort must be to decarbonize the industrial sector. Another is the possibility of cost competitive biofuels. Renmatix provides an innovative process that is an exciting pathway to pursue.”
Gates is joined in the round by Total the global energy major which, after an initial investment in 2015, has expanded its investment and has additionally signed a licensing agreement with Renmatix for 1M tons of annual cellulosic sugar production capacity, at Total’s discretion to build corresponding facilities. According to Renmatix, the license represents significant revenue potential for the company, extending over the lifetime of the agreement.
The Plantrose process uses supercritical water to reduce costs in conversion of biomass to cellulosic sugars, the critical intermediary for second-generation biochemicals and biofuels. According to the company, with faster reactions and virtually no associated consumable-expenses, its supercritical hydrolysis economically enables a multitude of renewable process technologies to access the market for ‘high volume, low cost, broadly sourced’ cellulosic sugars.
Renmatix CEO, Mike Hamilton added, “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. 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-ton license, are compelling indicators of our Plantrose technology’s maturation towards biorefinery scale.“