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Chrysalix Technologies

Problem

High feedstock and processing cost are hindering large-scale production of renewable chemicals and fuels. Typically, raw material cost (e.g. corn) is the main cost driver, contributing ca. 50% of the final product cost. At the same time, only 50% of waste wood is recycled in the industrialized world, with the remainder sent to landfill or incineration, contributing to environmental pollution and incurring high disposal fees. A main problem for the recycling of this wood fraction is the presence of heavy metals from paints and preservatives.

Solution

Our proprietary and innovative technology uses a novel type of low-cost solvents called ionic liquids (ILs). They enable conversion of unwanted waste wood into a decontaminated and very cheap raw material for producing inexpensive and sustainable chemicals, materials and fuels, while recovering heavy metals in a useful form. The technology offers unprecedented flexibility and cost- advantages, as it can treat different types of woody materials in a one-size-fits-all process with lower capital and operating costs than competing processes.

Uniqueness, Technology overview, barriers to competition

The technology will reduce the cost of low grade waste wood disposal and generate inexpensive cellulose, sugars and clean lignin for the bio-plastics, bio-fuel and other bio-renewable industries. Our main advantage over other lignocellulose fractionation technologies is a more cost-effective and more flexible process that can treat many different and low-cost input materials in a one-size-fits-all system.

Market size and analysis

The potential value held in currently non-recycled wood in the EU is around £3.5 billions, which could be unlocked by turning it into a raw material for the chemical industry using our technology. The main product from our process, cellulose, is a raw material for the bioplastics and fibers industries, with global markets of £25 billions (by 2024) and £35 billions (by 2025), respectively.
Other feedstock markets that can be used in the BioFlex process and will be attractive in the future include forestry residues, dedicated biofuel crops (e.g. Miscanthus or switchgrass), or agricultural residues (rice straw, sugarcane bagasse, wheat straw, corn stover), representing a total market worth ca. £250 billions.

Traction

We have validated our process extensively on the lab-scale. We successfully tested waste wood from two major European waste management companies. We have signed an MoU with a major Scandinavian pulp producer who is looking for a new use of their 300kt of saw dust produced every year.

Core Team

Chrysalix is currently led by co-founder and full-time CEO Dr Florence Gschwend. Dr Jason Hallett and Dr Agi Brandt-Talbot are co-founders and part-time Technical & Scientific Adviser and CSO, respectively; they both hold full-time positions at Imperial College. The team is being supported by Imperial Innovations, ClimateKIC and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
First Name Last Name Job Title Impressive Facts
Dr Florence Gschwend CEO Forbes 30under30, RAEng Enterprise Fellow
Dr Agi Brandt CSO Inventor and academic at ICL
Dr Jason Hallet Scientific Advisor Chemical Engineer, world expert in sustainable chemical technology.

Ask, use of proceeds, milestones

: Chrysalix plans to commercialise the BioFlex technology in the next 4 years. This fundraising round is looking to raise £725k to reach the next milestone, which is the design, costing and planning of a pilot plant with a capacity of 1ktpa. This plant will subsequently be built allowing to demonstrate the process in a continuous fashion over prolonged time, fine tune parameters and produce large sample quantities for product development. All of this is necessary to gain crucial data required to build a commercial demonstration plant.

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