Frost & Sullivan applauds CIMV's vision in introducing a biorefinery process that uses second-generation biofuels instead of whole plants
Friday, Dec 20, 2013

LONDON, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent analysis of the biochemicals market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Compagnie Industrielle de la Matiere Vegetale (CIMV) with Frost & Sullivan's 2013 French Visionary Innovation Award. CIMV's extensive research to find a viable substitute for petroleum has led to a biorefinery concept that focuses on second-generation biofuels and chemicals. These types of biofuels use only plant residuals (straws, forest residues, wood, miscanthus, and switch grass) and not the plant itself.

Biorefineries have to employ a challenging process in order to accurately break down the complex hydrocarbon, lignin, for extracting cellulose from a plant. CIMV collaborated with key participants to implement best practices that can aid in breaking down a plant's components to their purest forms. CIMV uses byproducts such as cereal straw, sugarcane bagasse, sweet sorghum, or fibre crops (hemp, flax, Provence cane, and miscanthus), and hardwood, which points to significant feedstock flexibility in its processes. Once these technologies are patented, they present a unique, competitive advantage over other industry participants.

CIMV ensured process validation and technology optimization by testing them in its pilot plant for more than six years. This plant was also used for the production of industrial product samples for commercial validation.

The technology was made possible through CIMV's collaboration with several thought leaders. CIMV also signed a technology partnership with Technip, a leader in project management, engineering, and construction for the energy industry. Technip helped CIMV to promote its technology across borders; their collaboration is also expected to result in an industrial unit for the production of cellulose pulp, Biolignin(TM) and C5 sugars syrup.

"To date, CIMV is the only biorefinery that can use these processes to generate non-deteriorated lignin and produce pure glucose. It also has the only technology that can promote a lignin on a pre-industrial scale and at a very high degree of purity," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Latha Rani. "CIMV's cellulose treatment process eliminates the quality issues common in the pulp and paper industry, such as the presence of silica in straw and annual plants. CIMV's process also makes top-quality glucose available at a very competitive price for commercial applications, especially biosourcing for biofuels and white biotechnologies."

CIMV's cellulose hydrolysis yields a high purity glucan syrup, with low enzyme dose, while its fermentation yields more than 0.48kg of ethanol per kg of glucose, with an ethanol concentration of 100g/kg. Besides, the derived cellulose has very low lignin content.

CIMV's process also enables the derivation of C5 syrup of more than 85 percent purity. It finds application as biosourcing for bioethanol and white biotechnologies, additives in animal feeds as well as for Furanic chemistry.

The third primary product in CIMV's process is Biolignin(TM), which has low molecular weight, regular structure, high OH content, and no sulphur.

Biolignin(TM) is used as a substitute for phenol, with more than 60 percent substitution rate. The applications for Biolignin(TM) include phenolic resins, additives for rubber, carbon fibres, and polyurethanes.

As CIMV has the only technology that can optimally extract three main components from the feedstock, it has obtained business from BIOCORE's EUR20.3 million project. CIMV also participates in two other European projects: the INNOBITE European Research Program, where it provides silica, Biolignin(TM) and cellulose to all the partners in the project; and the BIOMIMETIC European project, where it provides Biolignin(TM) from different feedstock to all the partners in the project.

"CIMV's operations have had a significant impact on future sustainability, as it is able to substitute fossil-based products, preserve soil fertility, and decrease greenhouse emissions," noted Ms Rani. "Simultaneously, its process promotes 100 percent of non-food biomass and resolves the debate on food versus fuel."

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that demonstrates a keen understanding of Mega Trends and an ability to leverage them in a way that greatly influences business and society. The recipient has also shown high efficiency in the innovation process and converted its vision into strategy excellence.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development.

Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About Compagnie Industrielle de la Matiere Vegetale (CIMV)

The company CIMV (Compagnie Industrielle de la Matiere Vegetale), founded in 1998, has developed a revolutionary concept of lignocellulosic biorefinery. Based on a petroleum refinery model, this allows the separation, without risk to the environment and without degradation, of the three components of plant material into three intermediary products designed for industry: BiolignineTM, cellulose/glucose and sugar syrups in C5. These products can be substituted for commodities of a fossil origin used in the composition of everyday consumer products (glue, insulation, fuel, plastics, etc.). The extraction of a pure lignin is the unique scientific breakthrough of CIMV's process and the basis of its profitability, since lignin is the equivalent of a petroleum phenol or carbon black. The plant material used in this CIMV process is non-food and comes from agricultural byproducts (cereal straw, bagasse from sugarcane and sweet sorghum) or fiber crops (hemp, flax, Provence cane and miscanthus), but can also come from forestry waste. CIMV has protected its technology by filing seven international patents.

Source: Frost & Sullivan

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