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June 05, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Trillium Renewable Chemicals selects Port Lavaca, TX for its first demonstration plant

Named “Project Falcon," the facility will use the start-up's groundbreaking technology to convert plant-based glycerol into acrylonitrile.

Trillium Renewable Chemicals has announced the selection of the INEOS Nitriles’ Green Lake facility in Port Lavaca, TX as the location where the company plans to establish the world’s first demonstration plant for converting plant-based glycerol into acrylonitrile. The demonstration plant is named “Project Falcon.”

Knoxville-headquartered Trillium has developed a groundbreaking technology for producing sustainable acrylonitrile, a key raw material in numerous industries including toys, auto parts, aerospace components, medical supplies, and apparel. Selecting INEOS – the world’s leading global manufacturer of petrochemicals – underscores Trillium’s ambition to scale up its technology in an industrial environment to accelerate progress.

“Trillium is thrilled that INEOS Nitriles Green Lake, home to America’s largest acrylonitrile production plant, will serve as the home for Project Falcon,” said Corey Tyree, Trillium’s Chief Executive Officer. “This milestone is a significant step forward in bringing our technology to market and producing sustainable bio-based acrylonitrile at scale.”

We first spotlighted Trillium in this January 18, 2022 article. Following a $10.6 million Series A financing round in December 2022 and a $2.5 million award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office in June 2022 (see follow 0n article here), Trillium constructed a pilot plant that successfully produced acrylonitrile from glycerol. Trillium’s sustainable acrylonitrile offers a lower carbon footprint than standard acrylonitrile based on the Sohio propylene process. The company’s innovative approach addresses growing customer demand for greener bio based raw materials.

Trillium continues to operate a pilot plant and has successfully provided samples to customers. Pilot operations also have contributed valuable insights for the design of the Falcon plant, which will be operated at the INEOS Nitriles Green Lake site.

The operation of Project Falcon will help to validate commercial-scale economics and product carbon footprint at scale. Emphasis will be placed on achieving process performance criteria such as plant uptime, demonstrating key equipment in its final form, and securing qualification as a supplier of bio-based acrylonitrile. Set to commence operations in early 2025, the project will run through early 2026.

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