MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – 14 January 2019 – Bio-based solvent Cyrene®, made from cellulose and produced by biotechnology company Circa Group, has been found to outperform traditional, toxic solvents in the production and dispersion of graphene, which is used in a range of high-value commercial applications.
PRESS RELEASE – CIRCA RECEIVES GREEN LIGHT TO SELL NON-TOXIC, BIO-BASED AND BIODEGRADABLE SOLVENT IN EU
YORK, UK – 10 December 2018 – Biotechnology company Circa Group has received authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to manufacture or import up to 100 tonnes/year of its bio-based solvent CyreneTM in the European Union, after receiving REACH Annex VIII approval.
A chiral dipolar aprotic solvent, CyreneTM was developed in conjunction with the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) at the University of York. CyreneTM is a two step conversion of waste biomass, produced at Circa's large-scale prototype plant, built in partnership with pulp and paper company Norske Skog in Tasmania, Australia.
Solvent regulation is increasingly focused on restricting hazardous chemicals to manage their risk to people animals and the environment. In the EU, widely used solvents such as NMP, DMF and DMAc are on the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) due to their reprotoxicity. In addition, a new restriction on NMP was adopted earlier this year, meaning that after May 2020, use will be further restricted and it will not be able to be manufactured or used in the EU unless operational conditions are maintained to ensure that exposure to workers is below specified levels.
CIRCA GROUP’S COMMERCIAL DEMONSTRATION PLANT COMES ONLINE AND PRODUCES FIRST BATCH OF 99% PURE CYRENEⓇ
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – 12 February 2019 – Biotechnology company Circa Group has announced that its FC5 commercial demonstration plant is now online, paving the way to a regular supply of Circa’s bio-based solvent CyreneⓇ.
A joint venture between Circa and Norwegian pulp and paper company Norske Skog, the FC5 plant is located in Tasmania, Australia. Now successfully commissioned and operated end-to-end, FC5 is starting to produce a steady stream of 99% pure CyreneⓇ, a non-toxic solvent made from certified and renewable cellulose waste.
CyreneⓇ is an alternative to traditional dipolar aprotic solvents, which are used in large volumes – over one million tonnes per year – and are under intense regulatory pressure due their toxicity. In the EU, Circa is a partner on BBI project ReSolve, which specifically aims to replace NMP – a fossil-derived solvent which has been categorised as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under European REACH regulation. Safer solvents are urgently required and CyreneⓇ is a bio-based solution with a unique property set, including viscosity, surface tension and polarities. CyreneⓇ is sold worldwide through Circa’s distributors Merck/Sigma Aldrich and Will&Co.
Tony Duncan, CEO and co-founder of Circa Group, said, “Scaling up new technologies is always a challenge. After years of hard work, we’re delighted that FC5 is now online as this allows us to provide CyreneⓇ reliably and in larger quantities for product testing worldwide, particularly in Europe. Circa is now focused on supporting the development of FC6 – a larger, commercial-scale plant.”