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Application of Catalysts in the Bioeconomy



Advances in Catalyst and Process Technologies for Bio-derived Chemicals Lead to Viable
Applications and Commercial Opportunities Addressing Circularity!

View Proposal Here (PDF format)

Application of Catalysts in the Bioeconomy: Advances and Competitive Implications” 

Due to increasing environmental concerns and CO2 emissions, there has been an increasing demand for renewably-sourced chemicals, culminating in the development of the “circular economy” concept. Part of this concept is a reliance on biomass as a key feedstock for the production of chemicals. In ever increasing numbers, chemical and polymer companies are announcing sustainability initiatives and setting corporate goals for reduction of wastes and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, Together for Sustainability now counts 22 members representing over $350 billion in sales (and $230 billion in spend), green chemistry networks have sprung up around the globe. A key lever for sustainability is the replacement of petroleum-derived chemical feedstocks with renewable, plant-derived feedstocks. According to the Bio-based Industries Consortium, the European chemical and polymers industry alone accounted for $60 billion in sales in the bioeconomy in 2016. While this number is large and growing, it represents only about 14% of the total addressable market for the European chemical industry, indicating that there is both much room for growth and need for new technologies for those chemicals that are currently only addressable through petroleum feedstocks.

In order to unlock the chemistry, and therefore the value, in bio-derived feedstocks, companies are increasingly looking at catalytic processes to convert a wide variety of feedstocks into an expanding library of chemical raw materials. These processes range from conversion of plant sugars into ethanol and then into ethylene, as in Axens’ ATOL technology, sugars into larger molecules, as proposed by Avantium or Haldor Topsoe’s MOSAIK technology, or using a variety of feedstocks to prepare a wide range of chemicals, such as Anellotech’s Bio-TCat technology. In the areas of bio-aromatics, there are numerous approaches being pursued by a range of developers across chemical products (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Routes to Bio-Aromatics: The Breadth of Approaches Across Target Molecules and Applications 

Source: Chemical & Engineering News, 2/24/2020; p. 19

In its newest multi-client offering, TCGR will assess recent catalyst technology developments enabling the conversion of bio-derived raw materials into industrially relevant chemicals and provide a comprehensive look at the market potential for these technologies – including specific catalysts and process licenses, with SWOTs – to provide insightful, timely advice in both technical and commercial directions. Furthermore, TCGR will evaluate emerging catalytic technologies for the bio-economy, in order to determine additional needs as well as gaps in the present technologies for which there should be market demand for new technologies.

Topics included are:

  • Existing and developing catalytic technologies for conversion of bio-based feedstocks, by provider/technology developer
  • Catalyst and technology provider supplier profiles, including linkages to bio-chem producers
  • Market evaluations of the potential for bio-derived chemicals, and the underlying catalysts and technologies
  • Strategic analyses and competitive implications

The study will focus on the particular raw materials (e.g., bio-derived sugars, lignocellulosics, etc.) and specific catalyst types (e.g., zeolites, PGMs, etc.) being utilized in biomass upgrading and conversion.

The hallmark of each TCGR multi-client report is “by the industry, for the industry.” This report’s charter subscribers (i.e., those who sign up prior to study launch) will be invited to provide input into the final scope and indicate areas of particular importance to them – whether it be application, technology, process, or market participant – in order to provide the most relevance for our subscribers.

A key need/justification for this study, and one that TCGR is uniquely capable of delivering, is a comprehensive technical, market and strategic/competitive assessment of bio-derived chemicals with its effect on producers, supply chains, relationships and competitiveness in such a way that identifies opportunities and shapes future directions.

This proposed multi-client study is scheduled for completion in August/September 2020.

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Notice to members of TCGR’s Catalytic Advances Program (CAP) who received the 2019 CAP technical report entitled “Circularity in Chemicals”:

Due to the complementary nature of this study to TCGR’s CAP report from 2019 addressing circularity in chemicals, TCGR is offering a discount of $1,000 off  “Application of Catalysts in the Bioeconomy: Advances and Competitive Implications” to CAP members who received that study. Subscribers are requested to contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com if further details are required or to determine if your organization is entitled. When completing the order form, please make sure to indicate your company’s receipt/selection of that CAP report.

Additional information, including the complete study proposal, the preliminary Table of Contents and the Order Form, is available via the link below or by contacting John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com.

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As it does in each of its industrially-focused multi-client studies, TCGR will seek input from “charter” subscribers (i.e., those who sign up prior to study launch, scheduled on or before April 10, 2020) to help shape the report’s final scope/TofC by delineating areas of particular interest, as depicted in Sections III, IV and V in the preliminary TofC.

Download PDF 

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The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.