Lixea® is developing an innovative biomass fractionation process using low-cost ionic liquids.
Currently, our society is heavily relying on the use of crude oil while products are discarded at the end of their lives. We want to change that, which is why we are developing novel chemical processes that enable us to live more sustainably in a clean world.
Our first product is the Dendronic process that uses waste wood, agricultural by-products and sustainably grown biomass to produce a greener alternative to today’s petrochemical industry while providing unwanted waste materials with a new purpose.
The Dendronic Process
Lixea is scaling-up the Dendronic Process, a novel fractionation technology for lignocellulosic biomass, offering unprecedented feedstock flexibility.
Different types of biomass, including agricultural residues, energy crops, forestry residues and even waste construction wood, can be used in our process.
An inexpensive and recyclable ionic liquid separates the different components of biomass: cellulose and lignin. In addition, by-products and heavy metals present in waste wood can be recovered.
What are Ionic Liquids?
Solvents of the future
Ionic liquids are a class of solvents comprised exclusively of ions. Unlike table salt, ionic liquids melt at temperatures below 100°C and some are liquid at and below room temperature.
They have very low vapour pressure, which makes them safe to handle in an open atmosphere and easily recyclable. Many ionic liquids have prohibitively high production costs, which has often hindered their industrial application. This is why our team from Imperial College London has specially designed ionic liquids to be inexpensive.
At Lixea, we use ionic liquids which are easily synthesised from bulk chemicals, thermally stable and will cost no more than traditional organic solvents.
As we are preparing for the pilot scale, we are interested in finding new feedstocks and new applications for our products.
Valorising residual streams
The Dendronic process is effective on a range of biomass types, including hardwoods and softwoods as well as heavy metal contaminated mixed waste wood. We are keen to validate our process with as many wood types as possible, with a particular interest in material that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. Curious if your feedstock would work in our process? Contact us!
Feeding a sustainable chemical industry
The main products from the Dendronic process are cellulose and lignin. Our cellulose has a very low hemicellulose content and is of high crystallinity. Dendronic lignin is virtually carbohydrate-free and has a nice smell. By-products, such as furfural and acetic acid, both widely used in the chemical industry, can be isolated also. Get in touch if you'd like some of our products to test in your application or to develop new products from them.