Using fresh carbohydrates to replace dirty hydrocarbons.
Our passion for biobased chemicals emerged from an investigation in 1998 as we discovered the many possibilities for the conversion of sugar cane into products other than sugar, molasses and bagasse. For a variety of reasons, we directed our efforts towards the use of the C5-compounds (pentosans) and feedstocks that contain the highest levels of C5s (e.g Oat Hulls, Corn Cobs, Sunflower Husks).
Whilst there are many uses for the cellulose (e.g. pulp & paper, bagasse-based power), the evolving cellulosic ethanol industry opens additional lignocellulosic feedstock streams. For us this means an ever greater opportunity for a diverse range of applications that have C5-compounds as their precursors (See Furfural and its many By-products).
Feedstock for the Manufacture of Furfural
The majority of the furfural is made from corncobs in China (Picture below, left). Corncobs were also used in the USA (Picture below, centre and right) as feedstock for the manufacture of furfural and its down-stream products like furfuryl alcohol. Regrettably, its procurement cost and lack of harvesting also contributed to the downfall of the US furfural industry.
For years we have followed the developments of the biomass programs, ever since Bill Clinton signed the 1999 executive order that initiated today’s biomass programme in the United States of America.