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Spotlight on feedstocks: Origin Materials develops furan platform based on chloromethyl furfural

Origin Materials, a United States and Canada-based material development company, has announced its commitment to the commercial manufacture of the chemical 5-chloromethyl furfural (CMF). The company has also announced the appointment of Dr. Robin Gibson as Director of Business Development.

Origin has developed a proprietary biomass-to-chemicals production process based on furan chemistry, allowing the conversion of lignocellulosic plant-based carbon into chemical building blocks CMF and hydrothermal carbon (HTC), as well as furfural and levulinic acid, through simple, economical, single-step chemo-catalysis.

5-chloromethyl furfural is a highly flexible raw material for many chemistries including para-xylene, purified terephthalic acid (PTA), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), as well as numerous commodity and specialty chemicals through its derivatives, including furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). At commercial scale, Origin’s process produces CMF with a highly carbon negative cradle-to-gate footprint.

“I joined Origin Materials (@OriginMaterials) because I’d spent years in the chemical industry looking for sustainable solutions to chemical industry problems,” said Gibson. “You can find many technical solutions that are sustainable, but very few make sense economically. Origin’s technology turns chloromethyl furfural into a disruptive, important molecule with an incredibly wide range of applications in commodity and specialty chemicals. Now, because of Origin’s unique process technology, the carbon footprint of the CMF produced is highly negative and, critically, represents a chemical platform that is very cost competitive with the incumbent petrochemical supply chain at scale. It’s an incredibly exciting package.”

“Robin’s deep experience in the chemical industry, combined with his passion for bringing sustainable, economical chemistries to market, make him an ideal fit for Origin as we advance our mission to help the world’s companies decarbonise,” added Origin Materials CEO John Bissell.

Gibson, who joined Origin Materials in 2020, brings with him 30 years of chemical industry experience, having been responsible for global business development across a wide range of chemical product types and markets working for internationally recognised market leaders and leading international teams. Gibson received his PhD from the University of Birmingham, England, where his work focused on sugar and carbohydrate synthesis.


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