Business Update: February 2023 | AIChE

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Business Update: February 2023

Business Update

Trillium just completed its Series A round

Knoxville-based sustainable chemical start-up, Trillium, has announced a successful $10.6 million Series A funding round.

Bringing you up to speed. Trillium was formed in April 2021 to commercialize technology spun out of Southern Research. The company’s patents describe a few different processes for making polyols from cellulose and hemicellulose, and for making acrylonitrile, acetonitrile, and acrylic acid from glycerol — which, aside from glycerol, are all currently derived from petroleum-based propylene.

Summing it up. So far, the company has secured a pre-seed round from Capricorn Partners, a $2.5 million award from the Dept. of Energy, and now an additional $10.6 million from Hyosung and Helm. That should be enough funding to construct and operate a pilot-scale site, which would be used to justify further investment.

Bigger picture. Glycerol is currently in abundant supply, as companies who make biodiesel (by reacting methanol with triglycerides, i.e., vegetable oils) also make a byproduct — glycerol — that they struggle to utilize. It’s not clear whether Trillium will procure their own glycerol or produce it for captive use...

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