Finnish pulp and paper company UPM has partnered with US cellulosic sugar developer Renmatix to further develop Renmatix's water-based Plantrose process to convert woody biomass into low-cost sugar intermediates for subsequent downstream processing into biochemicals. The companies said the partnership's long-term goal is to offer cost-competitive biobased alternatives to select petrochemicals on an industrial scale.
Renmatix's Plantrose continuous process uses water at very high temperatures and pressures to breakdown biomass through supercritical hydrolysis. Under this condition, water can act as both solvent and catalyst creating rapid reactions. The process does not use enzymes.