Renewable Chemistries


The use of materials from the food supply chain for the production of chemicals or fuels raises serious food security concerns with a world population that is growing to 9-10 Bn people by 2050 with in addition a higher average quality of life. In order to mitigate this, Avantium has developed technologies to produce sugars for the production of chemicals and fuels from non-food materials including forestry residues and agricultural byproducts such as corn stover or bagasse: so called second generation (2G) feedstocks.

Most of the activity is in the 2G sugar field is focused on the production of lignocellulosic ethanol. In this case, pure glucose is not required and brute force high temperature pre-treatment (e.g. steam explosion) followed by enzymatic hydrolysis is often used. After testing many 2G glucose samples from a wide variety of technologies, we concluded that none of these technologies would deliver the high quality glucose needed for many bio-based chemicals processes in a cost competitive way.

We found that high acid/low temperature processes were the only class of process that provided glucose with the right characteristics for bio-based chemicals applications. This class of process has been around for 100 years, and is still the only 2G sugar process that has been run at commercial scale.

Avantium’s Renewable Chemistries have developed a number of proprietary innovations that transform this otherwise mature technology into the Zambezi Process: a best in class process for the production of 2G glucose, separated from the hemicellulosic sugars, wood extractives and clean dry lignin. The ZAMBEZI process has the following features:

  • No pretreatment of the biomass required
  • Woodchips can be used directly in the process as the biomass is static in the process
  • High purity 2G glucose product from lignocellulosic biomass (versus 1G glucose from starch).
  • Concentrated acid, low temperature, sequential hemicellulose and cellulose hydrolysis, high yield , high selectivity
  • Near quantitative conversion of hemicellulose at close to 100% sugar selectivity
  • Near quantitative conversion of cellulose at close to 100% sugar selectivity Proprietary acid-sugar separation technology
  • Separation of wood extractives such as tall oils
  • Proprietary technology for the separation of acid from lignin, giving a clean lignin product suitable for energy generation
  • High purity 2G glucose product; identical to starch-based glucose
  • Feedstock flexible: forestry residues (wood), corn stover, bagasse, sugar beet residue and others

Contact details

Would you like to know more about this? Are you interested in working together on our Renewable Chemistries projects? Let us know by calling/sending an email to:

Alan Smith
Director Business Development – Renewable Chemistries