Development of petrochemical industry in the 20th century resulted in creation of remarkable new polymer materials and plastics that became inseparable parts of human life. However, today, the majority of fossil-based polymers and plastics are not degradable and their use generates enormous mountains of plastic trash on land and in the oceans. There is a clear need for the chemical industry to replace non-renewable and non-degradable sources for various products.
The previous generation of degradable polymers from renewable feedstocks such as PLA, PHB(A)s, cellulose acetate and starch-based substitutes commercialized during last decades struggle for widespread acceptance because of fundamental limitations in their properties and severe performance deficiencies precluding entry to economically attractive applications.
We embark on a quest to develop and industrialize sustainable and responsible alternatives. We discover and develop the next generation of Earth and human friendly polymers and polymer systems that are devoid of toxins, have exceptional performance, made from abundant renewable sources, beautifully designed to re-enter the carbon cycle when they are no longer needed, and are competitive with the best fossil carbon polymers and plastics.
Our quest to develop and industrialize sustainable and responsible alternatives led to discovery of the best-of-class all-C5-based PXLK polymer which carries the potential to transition the bioplastic industry from a niche underdog to a standard-setting leader. PXLK has innate performance mechanical, thermal and optical characteristics unattainable by underperforming incumbent bioplastics like PLA, PHAs or cellulose esters. PXLK is a high-tensile strength, ductile (not brittle), transparent, colorless and odorless polymer displaying exceptional optical clarity, high impact resistance and heat deflection (Tg=116°C). PXLK bioplastic offers a viable competing alternative to major fossil based thermoplastics such as polycarbonate (PC) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) which pose recognized health and environmental concerns.
Because of the versatile nature of the plastics for many applications, and the innate recyclability of PXLK at the monomer level, PXLK inventory and manufactured goods can act in lieu of a global renewable carbon currency. A polymer such as PXLK can in practice be made only from renewable non-food carbon source. The PXLK polymer characteristic structure is a living proof of its origins that obviates any currency counterfeiting concerns and expensive methods for diagnostics of polymer origin. Such polymer is in prime position to take a leading role in forming a global fungible organic carbon bank system. The functional value, durability and energy content of the accumulated asset (PXLK polymer and goods) can act as the chief motivator to produce, recycle, recover, save and store in a useable form for many practical daily applications. Produced and accumulated by succeeding human generations, PXLK polymer can play a decisive role in management of the planetary carbon cycle imbalance in process that does not rely on subsidies or taxation as incentive for sequestering other, less usable forms of carbon.
PXLK is our Gen1 bioplastic technology with its history in XLTerra, Inc (operated as subsidiary of Reluceo, Inc in 2010-2013). In August of 2014, the technology development assets comprising all original R&D records of XLTerra, Inc for the PXLK polymer have been acquired by Reluceo Holdings LLC, thereby completing the separation of this technology from legacies of prior affiliations.
The chemistry of our high performance bioplastics, such as PXLK and certain additional (Gen2) polymer embodiments, is based on proven industrial chemistry of furfural and xylose/xylitol conversions amenable to scale-up with known production equipment. Economics of PXLK production and breadth of commercialization will greatly benefit from the full upstream integration with the PHOENIX process.