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Circa gets thumbs up from EU to sell its bio-based solvent in the bloc.

Circa Group biochemical (picture courtesy of Circa Group).Our next goal is registration of Cyrene in the US and other jurisdictions will soon follow.

Australia-based biotechnology company Circa Group has received authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to import up to 100 tonnes per year of its bio-based solvent Cyrene to the EU.

The group was able to manage this because it received Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Annex VIII approval from the ECHA. Circa has also been given the green light to manufacture Cyrene in the EU.

According to Circa (@circagroup), Cyrene is a chiral dipolar aprotic solvent. It was developed in conjunction with the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) at the UK-based University of York. Circa also said that Cyrene is made from waste cellulose, which is produced at the company’s large-scale prototype plant, built in partnership with pulp and paper company Norske Skog (@Norse_Skog) in Tasmania, Australia.

The company said that Cyrene provides a safer alternative to traditional solvents such as dimethylformamide (DMF), n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) and dimethylacetamide (DMAc), which are facing increased regulatory pressure worldwide due to their reprotoxicity.

Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder of Circa Group, said: Annex VIII authorisation is a major milestone for Cyrene and we are delighted to have been given the go-ahead to sell Cyrene in significantly larger quantities in Europe.

Safer solvents are urgently required and with Cyrene, we are also offering a bio-based solution with a unique property set, including viscosity, surface tension and polarities making it an exciting new prospect for advanced materials. Our next goal is registration of Cyrene in the US and other jurisdictions will soon follow.

Circa was established in 1996. The company converts waste biomass into advanced bio-based chemicals with its proprietary Furacell process at its prototype plant in Tasmania.

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