The first products produced via the Plantrose process are Plantro® sugars. These Plantro sugars are the cellulosic sugars that serve as the primary building blocks for biochemicals and advanced biofuels. Plantro sugars are distinct in that they have been liberated from the biomass using water and heat, instead of acids, solvents, and/or enzymes. Most importantly, they are also cheaper, enabling economical uses in a broad range of fuel and chemical applications.
The easiest way to think about the Plantrose process is: take biomass, hit it with hot water, filter it, hit the remaining solids with really hot water and filter again. The first step of the process removes hemicellulose which becomes one type of sugar, and the supercritical hydrolysis removes cellulose, giving us another type of sugar.
Plant material is primarily composed of building-block polymers. These are a mix of carbohydrates (cellulose, hemicellulose), and aromatics (lignin solids). The carbohydrate polymers contain vast amounts of potentially fermentable sugars (known as 'cellulosic sugars'). These sugars may be converted into a multitude of biochemical, biofuel, and polymer products by either biological or chemical routes. But first, the polymers need to be converted to sugars by a reaction known as hydrolysis.
There are many different types of hydrolysis technologies, including, but not limited to acid-based, enzyme-based, solvent-based, and combinations of these chemistries. Renmatix uses another class of hydrolysis, based on supercritical water. Renmatix chose supercritical hydrolysis over the traditional routes because it can convert the carbohydrates to sugars in a much more cost effective manner.