YORK, UK – Biotechnology company Circa Group announced it is leading the consortium for a new EU project, ReSolute, a flagship Horizon 2020 project set to develop the first commercial plant to produce Cyrene™ a new, sustainably sourced, safer alternative to traditional fossil-based solvents.

Building on previous Horizon 2020 project ReSolve, the project will build a flagship plant to create levoglucosenone (LGO), a chemical building block that can be used to produce bio-based solvent Cyrene in one step. The plant is expected to reach a production capacity of 1,000 tonnes of Cyrene per year, using feedstock from non-food, renewable biomass.

ReSolute brings together 12 partners from six countries, and it will provide new manufacturing and employment opportunities in product manufacture and downstream conversion in Europe.

Yvon Le Hénaff, Chairman of ReSolute consortium member IAR, the French bioeconomy cluster, said, “IAR, the French Bioeconomy Cluster, is delighted with the establishment of this industrial unit in France. We are happy to work hand-in-hand with Circa, a member of the IAR Cluster, on a successful ReSolute project, where we are partners and which is now fully on track, thanks to the announced funding from the EU. IAR is confident that ReSolute will have positive results and help create a European bio-based solvent manufacturing base.”

Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder of Circa Group, said, “Following the success of the ReSolve project, which was led by the University of York, we are delighted to now lead the ReSolute consortium with some great partners including Merck KGaA Darmstadt and Norske Skog. Traditional solvents such as NMP, DMF, DMAc and DCM are all under intense regulatory pressure, yet still being used in large volumes. Circa has developed five successful pilots – most recently a joint venture with Norske Skog – and we now going into industrial scale in the EU with a project that supports the EU’s ambitious circular economy strategy.”

ReSolute Partners include Circa Sustainable Chemicals (UK, BE), Merck KGaA, Darmstadt (DE), Norske Skog Golbey (FR), IAR (FR), Will & Co (NL), University of York (UK), Talga Resources (DE), Huntsman Specialty Chemicals (CH), CPL (UK), AgroParisTech (FR), PNO Consultants (FR) and PFA (BE).

Established in 2006, Circa Group converts waste biomass into advanced bio-based chemicals with its proprietary Furacell™ process at its prototype plant in Tasmania – a joint venture with Norske Skog. Its developing product portfolio includes biosolvents, flavors and biopolymers, including Cyrene, an alternative to traditional polar aprotic solvents.