Trillium’s New Funding Advances it to Next Phase of Commercialization of Plant-Based Feedstocks for ABS and More
Photo Credit: Trillium Renewable Chemicals
Back in April 2021, we reported on new startup company Trillium Renewable Chemicals (TRC), Knoxville, Tenn., and it plans to make chemicals from renewable feedstocks, including acrylonitrile (Bio-ACN) for ABS with a net-zero footprint. Trillium was jointly created by Belgium-based venture capital and Belgium-based independent investment firm Capricorn Partners and Southern Research–an independent nonprofit, scientific research organization with more than 400 scientists and engineers working across three divisions: life science, engineering, and energy & environment.
Headquartered in Birmingham, with additional laboratories and offices in Frederick, Md., and Houston, SR supports related industries with independent research on behalf of commercial and government clients, objectively assessing new technologies and providing process development support. It also pursues entrepreneurial and collaborative initiatives to develop and maintain a pipeline of intellectual property and innovative technologies that positively impact real-world problems. SR has exclusively licensed its patented chemical manufacturing platform to Trillium to accelerate commercial development of this new technology which converts renewable feedstocks, such as sugar or glycerol to chemical products like acrylonitrile, propylene glycol, and acrylic acid.
Trillium recently contacted us to let us know that the company had raised a $10.6M Series A financing round. The first closing totaled $5.5M and was led by South Korea’s Hyosung Advanced Materials Corporation. Current investor Capricorn Partners also participated. Germany’s Helm AG has agreed to join the Series A round to bring the total to $10.6M. This funding builds on the company’s non-dilutive award of $2.5M from the U.S. Department of Energy. Following a successful pilot program, the funding advances Trillium to the next phase of commercialization – the construction and operation of a market demonstration unit.
Trillium’s innovative Bio-ACN process sustainably converts plant-based feedstocks into valuable chemicals like acrylonitrile and acetonitrile. Acrylonitrile is currently manufactured from oil and gas derivatives to make a diverse range of consumer and industrial goods including plastics such as ABS, carbon fiber, textiles, flocculant, synthetic rubber, and other valuable materials. These materials are used in finished products such as auto and aerospace parts, consumer electronics, sporting goods, apparel, medical gloves, toys, personal care products, and water treatment chemicals.
Photo Credit: Trillium Renewable Chemicals
Said Hyosung’s v.p. Young Joon Lee,“We are excited to be a partner with TRC for this innovative technology development and the commercialization pathway. Sustainability is at the heart of Hyosung’s future growth strategy, and we firmly believe that our strong partnership will take us to the next level of industry leadership in renewable chemicals space.”
Founded in 1968, Hyosung Advanced Materials Corporation (HAMC), is reportedly the global no. 1 polyester tire reinforcements company. HAMC’s business covers industrial material of various applications that serve a variety of industries. In response to the transition of the mobility industry and the need for green technology, HAMC continues to develop and commercialize high-strength and light-weight materials that contribute to less product carbon emissions.
HELM AG’s executive v.p. Andreas Woschek said, “HELM is highly committed to grow its chemical business via sustainable solutions. Our engagement in Trillium marks another milestone in delivering tangible actions via our sustainability strategy. The combined skillsets of the partners supporting Trillium now provides an exciting opportunity to commercialize the innovation of bio-based, low carbon acrylonitrile to the market.”
A Hamburg-based family-owned company established in 1900, HELM is one of the world’s largest chemicals marketing companies and committed to providing solutions to its partners that support a successful transformation to a sustainable economy and society. The company secures access to the world’s key markets through its specific regional knowledge and its multinational presence in more than 30 countries. As a multifunctional marketing organization HELM is active in the chemicals industry, in the agricultural industry and in pharmaceuticals.
Noting that ‘job one’ is the demonstration of their technology at scale, Trillium’s CEO Corey Tyree said, “Financial backing from HELM AG and Hyosung advances Trillium to demonstration scale. The addition of strategic investors also validates our technology and our potential. With funding from quality partners, we can realize our potential to become a leading producer of renewable chemicals.”
Added Rob van der Meij and Wouter van de Putte from the Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, managed by Capricorn Partners, and Board Member of Trillium, “It is great to have such constructive co-investors that bring significant value to the company for the scale up and market introduction.”