Virent announced it has successfully made Paraxylene (PX) from 100% renewable plant sugars. The PX molecule, when combined with existing PET technology, allows manufacturers to offer customers 100% natural, renewable, plant-based PET and packaging. This announcement is the culmination of Virent’s mixed-xylenes development which started in 2010. “Today confirms a significant achievement for global leaders in consumer products,” said Virent CEO, Lee Edwards. “Our plant-based PX paves the way for 100% sustainable, recyclable products and packaging with complete freedom from crude oil.”
Virent’s Paraxylene, which has been trademarked BioFormPX™, can be used in bottling, packaging and in a wide variety of fibers and materials. The chemical is made through a patented, catalytic process which converts plant-based sugars into PX molecules identical to those made from petroleum. All of Virent’s chemicals are ‘drop in’ replacements that enable full utilization of existing processing and logistics infrastructure without blending limitations. “Our PX can be blended at any ratio the customer desires, and made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including sugar cane, corn, and woody biomass,” explains Edwards. “Our catalytic process is tunable to customer specs, and situated to meet the entire spectrum of fossil fuel replacement.” The company is working with potential partners and customers to explore large-scale commercial options to augment its existing 10,000 gallon/year demonstration plant in Madison, Wisconsin.