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UPM Signs Joint Development Agreement with Renmatix in Biochemicals

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UPM, Helsinki, Finland, and Renmatix Inc., King of Prussia, Pa., USA, have entered into a non-exclusive joint development agreement (JDA) in the area of biochemicals. Under terms of the JDA, both companies will further develop Renmatix's water-based Plantrose™ process to convert woody biomass into low-cost sugar intermediates for subsequent downstream processing into biochemicals. Offering cost-competitive bio-alternatives for select petrochemicals on an industrial scale is the long term goal of this initiative.

"We are very excited about this truly collaborative endeavor. It combines UPM's core competencies in sustainable sourcing and efficient industrial processing of wood, with Renmatix's unique conversion technology," noted Michael Duetsch, director of Biochemicals, at UPM. "Access to second generation, lignocellulosic sugars through a process that uses almost no consumables is a crucial factor in Plantrose technology's attractiveness."

The Plantrose process employs water at very high temperatures and pressures to breakdown biomass through supercritical hydrolysis. Under such conditions water can act as both a powerful solvent and catalyst, creating rapid reactions.

"We believe this pioneering approach leads to real cost advantages over conventional methods. Our growing relationship with UPM gives Renmatix an opportunity to support them expanding the Biofore story," said Mike Hamilton, CEO of Renmatix. "Renmatix, as a U.S.-based technology provider, takes great pride in working with global companies across the emerging bio-value chains. It reinforces the demand that exists for licensing Plantrose technology as the bridge between sustainable sources of upstream biomass, and downstream manufacturing of biochemicals and fuels."

"The joint development agreement with Renmatix is another milestone in the implementation of our biochemicals strategy and UPM's Biofore vision. The cooperation further strengthens our position as the frontrunner in the innovation-driven integration of bio and forest industries," Juuso Konttinen, VP of UPM, added.

UPM consists of three business groups: Energy and Pulp, Paper, and Engineered Materials. The Group employs some 22,000 people, and has operations in 67 countries, with production units in 17 countries. UPM's annual sales exceed EUR 10 billion.


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