API announces first nanocellulose patent

By American Process Inc. | November 19, 2015

American Process Inc. recently announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to API for its BioPlus nanocellulose technology, U.S. Patent No. 9,187,865. This patent covers an AVAP process for producing a nanocellulose material, as well as many downstream applications using the nanocellulose. The process includes fractionating a biomass feedstock with an acid, a solvent for lignin, and water, to generate cellulose-rich solids; and then mechanically treating the celluloserich solids with a relatively low amount of energy to form cellulose nanofibrils or nanocrystals.

Other patents are pending for the nanocellulose material and compositions that include the nanocellulose, as well as for other aspects of the technology, in the U.S., Brazil, Europe, Japan, China, India, Russia, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and South Africa. According to lead inventor Dr. Kim Nelson, “Nanocellulose has proven to be a versatile material with a vast array of potential commercial applications. With exceptionally low-cost commercialscale production potential and flexibility in nanocellulose morphology and surface functionalization, API’s nanocellulose process has overcome the most significant barriers to commercialization for this 21st Century biomaterial.”

“This milestone underscores API’s culture of biorefinery innovation in service to our planet. Our BioPlus Nanocellulose has conquered the major commercial barriers that have hitherto inhibited rapid market development. Specifically, BioPlus nanocellulose materials are costcompetitive with traditional materials; they can be produced as a powder and we have introduced novel lignin-coated nanocellulose, both crystals and fibrils, that are oleophilic and compatible with plastic applications. We are currently focusing development of market applications ranging from packaging to transportation lightweighting and rheological modifiers,” said Theodora Retsina, CEO of API.

API has been an active biorefinery innovator for 20 years and has several technologies on the market. The AVAP technology is a flexible biorefinery platform to produce various chemicals, materials, sugars, fuels, and energy from lignocellulosic biomass. U.S. Patent No. 9,187,865 marks another milestone for API—the 25th patent granted. The IP portfolio also includes over 200 published and unpublished patent applications, as well as proprietary know-how and trade secrets. “The USPTO recognizes API’s true progress, enabling legal protection of our substantial R&D investment. These patents allow us to commercially offer our technologies to partners and licensees,” said Ryan O’Connor, CIPO of API.