Australian green chemicals firm Leaf Resources has announced that it may be looking at significant expansion thanks to the success of its product trials, as well as a maiden purchase offer. The news could mean the company may add up to $38m in revenue.
According to its site, Leaf’s technologies ‘enable the replacement of petroleum-based chemicals and plastics, with the aim of moving society towards the bio-economy’. The firm is the first pine chemicals manufacturer in the country, using pine tree stumps as a source for biomass to create high-value natural, sustainable terpenes and rosins. These materials typically use labour intensive and environmentally damaging extraction processes, using chemicals hexane or sulphuric acid. Instead, Leaf’s technology (known as the Glycell Process) replaces the chemicals with a natural solvent that leaves no unwanted byproducts.
While the stump material is typically treated as waste, Leaf has proven it to in fact be viable feedstock, containing 20% more usable chemicals than logs. Trials of the company’s production process have been underway since January, with successful results reported in June.
With viability proven, the company’s products have received their first purchase order from Japanese company Yasuhara Chemical Co, and have announced plans to double their output for rosin and terpene products.
The company’s expansion will be aided by its new natural pine chemical extraction plant in Apple Tree Creek, Queensland, developed alongside its subsidy Essential Queensland. Two new wood pellet production lines are also planned to facilitate the expansion, with these projects to be funded by a recent capital investment round, which raised $8m.
Essential Queensland – a company that has been developing sustainable and clean pine chemical production since 2016 – has been quoted as saying it believes it is embarking on the “biggest step change that the US$10 billion pine chemicals industry has experienced since the 1950s”.