The sustainable BioBTX technology
The sustainable technology of BioBTX enables us to transform non-food biomass and plastic waste into BTX.
Imagine how great it would be if we could make all the BTX we use from biomass and waste
BTX refers to a combination of benzene, toluene and xylene. These three so called aromatics are mostly applied in the production of plastics like PET, ABS and Polystrene. Traditionally BTX are derived from non-renewable fossil resources, such as petroleum. BioBTX developed technology able to create BTX from alternative sources, such as non-food biomass and mixed plastic waste. On a molecular level our BTX and traditional BTX are indistinguishable: they can be applied in the exact same way, so called drop in products.
The technology we use to create BTX is called Integrated Cascading Catalytic Pyrolysis (ICCP) technology. First, the feedstock is heated to a high temperature inside a reactor in a process called pyrolysis. The vapours released in this process are transferred to a second reactor where they are directly transformed into aromatics by means of catalytic conversion. Finally, the liquid BTX product is collected, thus completing the process.
The main benefit of this integrated two-step process is the absence of direct contact between the feedstock and the catalyst. This protects the catalyst by poisoning from contaminants, for example, by minerals from the biomass, thereby increasing its lifetime significantly. It also makes it possible to process highly contaminated feedstocks such as crude glycerin, increasing the flexibility of the technology. Moreover, by using two-step process the pyrolysis and catalytic process steps are separated, which allows for independent control of process variables and optimization of each step. Currently our ICCP technology is the most cost competitive known technology for the creation of sustainable BTX.
Currently BioBTX uses two different groups of feedstocks to produce BTX with its sustainable technology: bio-based feedstock and plastic waste
With the ICCP technology BioBTX can create BTX from bio-based feedstock. In Groningen labaratory and pilot plant capabilities have been used to prove the feasibility of producing BTX from biomass. These tests have proven successful. In 2016 BioBTX created the first 100% bio-PET from non-food biomass; a huge accomplishment for the transition towards a more biobased society. BioBTX is currently fine-tuning its technology to ensure the production runs as effectively and efficiently as possible. In the future we expect we can produce biobased BTX on a global scale for a competitive price.
BioBTX demonstrated plastic waste can be transformed into BTX using the sustainable ICCP technology. Plastic waste mostly ends up in landfills or is incinerated. Neither of these options are considered sustainable or friendly to the environment, as plastics degrade very slowly and the burning of plastics emits a high amount of CO2 gasses. BioBTX turns trash into treasure with our transformative technology. A great benefit of the ICCP technology used to create BTX from plastic waste is that there is no need for costly separation of plastics: the whole plastic product can be supplied to the reactor. This is especially suitable for materials that are not suitable for mechanical recycling, such as multi-layered plastics, mixed plastic waste and waste consisting of a combination of plastics and biomass. In 2019 BTX production from plastic waste will be started on pilot scale, as this would position BioBTX as a serious frontrunner in circular economy technology.
The future of BTX is bio-based and circular in nature.