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TNO's Biorizon spin-off Relement will produce and sell bio-aromatics on a commercial scale at the Green Chemistry Campus for use in, among others, lubricants and coatings. Aromatics are currently still made from petroleum and the production of these chemical building blocks has a negative impact on the climate. The bio-aromatics of Relement are a qualitatively better and more sustainable alternative for fossil aromatics in existing products. In this way Relement contributes to a green chemical industry and better products.

Last summer Relement B.V. was founded to commercially produce and sell the bio-aromatics developed within the TNO part of Biorizon. The name Relement refers to ‘the renewable element’: the renewability of the essential element aromatics. Relement uses renewable biomass waste streams as feedstock instead of petrochemical raw materials. The market size for high-grade aromatics is € 2.5 billion so the potential to green these so far petrochemical building blocks is enormous. In time, Relement wants to build commercial plants for various premium bio-aromatics and thus contribute to a greener chemical industry.

Substantial CO2 reduction & superior properties

“One of the first bio-aromatics Relement is bringing to the market is an alternative to fossil phthalic anhydride which is used in alkyd paints, among others” says Relement CEO Roger Blokland. “Our team works closely with TNO that has advanced equipment in the demo facility of the Green Chemistry Campus to produce samples of bio-aromatics on a kg-scale. With Relement’s bio-aromatics, for the first time 100% bio-based alkyd paint can be made. This paint not only lasts longer due to better scratch resistance and UV resistance, it is also considerably more durable”.

Commissioned by Circular Biobased Delta and supported by the provinces of Zeeland, South Holland and North Brabant, CE Delft conducted research into CO2 reduction potential. Willem Sederel: “By replacing petrochemical phthalic anhydride with biobased 3-methylphthalic anhydride, Relement can achieve a CO2 reduction of 3.1 kg CO2-eq. per kilogram from 2027. In total, this means an annual CO2 reduction of 94 kt CO2-eq. Because we saw this potential for bio-aromatics, this theme has been on the agenda of Circular Biobased Delta for some time. We are pleased that a first spin-off company has now been established from Biorizon. Relement will explicitly work on upscaling the production of bio-aromatics and has a clear plan for this. Recently, a project proposal was submitted in which Relement, together with Circular Biobased Delta and intended engineering party TransitionHero, wants to work out a conceptual process design for the future commercial factory”.

Relement is a company for the development, production and marketing of bio-aromatics and stems from the work TNO performs within Shared Research Center Biorizon. Biorizon, an initiative of TNO and VITO, has been working at the Green Chemistry Campus since 2013 on technologies for the production of functional bio-aromatics. Essential building blocks for the chemical industry: no less than 40% of all chemicals are aromatics. They add functionality to products such as plastics, paints, coatings and lubricants, including scratch resistance, stability and UV resistance. Bio-aromatics are not only much more durable than fossil aromatics, but also have better quality: for example, paints become more resistant to sunlight and insulation foam becomes stronger.

On the picture in the banner from left to right the Relement team: Monique Wekking, CCO Roger blokland, CEO Stefano Iannacone, CTO