• Sustainable Solutions

    Chrysalix Technologies

  • About

    Chrysalix Technologies is an Imperial College spin-out company developing an innovative biomass fractionation process using low-cost ionic liquids. Currently, our society is heavily relying on the use of crude oil while products are discarded at the end of their lives. We want to change that, which is why we are developing novel chemical processes that enable us to live more sustainably in a clean world. Our first product is the BioFlex process that uses waste wood and agricultural by-products as well as sustainably grown biomass to produce a greener alternative to today’s petrochemical industry while providing unwanted waste materials with a new purpose.

    Bioeconomy

    An alternative to crude oil

    Chrysalix technologies’ proprietary process enables the use of any type of woody material for the large-scale production of bio-derived materials, chemicals and fuels. As such, we are promoting the bioeconomy, an economic concept where wood and other forms of lignocellulosic biomass are used instead of crude oil to produce heat, electricity, materials and chemicals.

    What are Ionic Liquids?

    Solvents of the future

    Ionic liquids are a class of solvents comprised exclusively of ions. Unlike table salt, ionic liquids melt at temperatures below 100°C and some are liquid at and below room temperature. They have very low vapour pressure, which makes them safe to handle in an open atmosphere and easily recyclable. Many ionic liquids however have prohibitively high production costs, which has often hindered their industrial application. This is why our team from Imperial College London has specially designed ionic liquids to be cheap. At Chrysalix Technologies, we use ionic liquids which are easily synthesised from bulk chemicals, thermally stable and will cost no more than traditional organic solvents.

    Circular Economy

    Pioneers in Sustainability

    In the EU and US alone around 100m tonnes of waste wood remain unrecycled every year. This represents a vast economic loss and an untapped resource.

     

    Converting the waste of today into the raw materials of tomorrow is the key component of the conceptual circular economy. The circular economy is widely deemed as the only truly sustainable economic model.

     

    Chrysalix Technologies therefore provides a key stepping stone to a sustainable future and is in keeping with seven of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • BioFlex Process

    The proprietary BioFlex process is a novel pretreatment technology for lignocellulosic biomass, offering unprecedented feedstock flexibility. Different types of biomass, including agricultural residues, energy crops, as well as forestry residues and even waste construction wood, can be used in a one-size-fits-all process. An inexpensive and recyclable ionic liquid separates the different components of biomass, i.e. cellulose and lignin, while by-products as well as heavy metals present in waste wood can be recovered.

    Benefits

    Feedstock flexibility: effective for any type of woody material including softwoods

     

    Compatible with metal and organic contaminants like paint and preservatives

     

    High performance: high lignin and hemicellulose removal rate in short reactions

     

    Mild conditions: Near ambient pressure and temperatures below 200°C

     

    No harmful emissions: Ionic liquids have low vapour pressure and are therefore not emitted to atmosphere

     

    Circular economy: Makes use of waste feedstocks, such as demolition wood and agricultural residues

  • Applications

    Feedstocks

    One size does fit all!

    The BioFlex process is effective on a range of biomass types, including hardwoods and softwoods as well as heavy metal contaminated mixed waste wood. What is more, most feedstocks can be treated under identical conditions, offering unprecedented flexibilty. We are keen to validate our process with as many wood types as possible, with a particular interest in material that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. Curious if your feedstock would work in our process? Contact us now!

    Products

    Feeding a sustainable chemical industry

    The main products from the BioFlex process are cellulose and lignin. Our cellulose is of high purity and can be used for paper, dissolving pulp and nanocellulose applications. BioFlex lignin is virtually sulfur-free and can be used in PFA resins. By-products, such as furfural and acetic acid, both widely used in the chemical industry, can be isolated also. Get in touch if you'd like some of our products to test in your application or to develop new products from them.

  • Team

    Meet our passionate team working towards a more sustainable future.

    Dr Florence Gschwend

    CEO & Co-Founder

    Florence is co-founder and CEO of Chrysalix. She has received mentoring and financial support as a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow as well as through ClimateKIC. She has won several prizes for both her research and entrepreneurial efforts and was awarded the EIT Change Award. She is passionate about using her skills to make a lasting difference to the environment and society and has been named as one of Europe’s most promising game-changers under 30 by Forbes.

    Professor Jason Hallett

    Scientific and Technical Adviser & Co-Founder

    Jason is Professor in Sustainable Chemical Technology at Imperial College’s Chemical Engineering Department. He leads a team of 30 researchers working in the field of biorefining, with a focus on industrial application. He has obtained more than £10 million in research support, including several projects under commercial development. His overall research vision is to develop sustainable, solvent-based chemical processes based on biorenewables that have real-world impact improving everyday life.

    Dr Agi Brandt

    CSO & Co-founder

    Agi obtained her PhD from Imperial College in 2011. She originally developed the BioFlex process and has since continued working on it at Imperial College in Jason’s team and is now heading her own research group at Imperial College’s Chemistry Department where she investigates novel lignin materials. In 2015 she was awarded the President's award of excellence for outstanding early career researcher and in 2016 the Sir William Wakeham Award for having made a significant contribution to her research field.

    Dr Artun Sukan

    Director

    Artun has worked in sourcing and evaluating early-stage technology and engineering investments since 2016. He focuses on novel chemicals and materials, clean tech and engineering sectors. He represents IP Group on the board of Chrysalix. Previously, Artun has worked in Technology Transfer and IP management at Imperial Innovations, where he identified, protected and managed intellectual property from Imperial College London and has assisted various commercial deals. Artun holds a PhD in Applied Biotechnology from the University of Westminster, UK.

    Aida Rafat

    Head of Product Development

    Aida is managing our product development with a focus on cellulose applications. She has worked on ionic liquid based lignocellulose fractionation for the last 3 years as part of her PhD project at Imperial College London for which she holds a prestigious President's Scholarship. She has previously worked for Conocophillips after graduating from Qatar University with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

    Gwenaël Bonnave

    Process Engineer

    Gwenaël is developing Chrysalix' BioFlex process via process design, simulations, equipment selection and sizing, economic evaluation and feasibility studies. Working for Chrysalix he has received a SITolarship by the EIB to receive specialist training. He has previously worked on a conceptual biorefinery from sugar beet pulp where he carried out the techno-economic analysis as part of his Master's project at Imperial College within a consortium of three universities and ten industrial partners.

    Shirley Min Yang

    Product Development Chemist

    Shirley is working part-time developing products from BioFlex lignin. Besides working for Chrysalix, she is carrying out a PhD at Imperial College's Chemistry Department where she works on developing a novel, sustainable and low-cost carbon fibre production process from BioFlex lignin. She has previously worked on lignin chemical modification and lignin carbon materials as part of her Master's project and has a total of 2.5 years of experience working on lignin applications.

    Francisco Malaret

    Process Engineering Consultant

    Francisco is a consultant process engineer working on our process development. Francisco has spent the last 4 years working on ionic liquid based lignocellulose fractionation as part of his PhD. He has also studied physico-chemical properties and corrosion behaviour of ionic liquids. Previously he worked as a senior chemical engineer for Technip (now TechnipFMC) where he worked on LNG projects. He enjoys the opportunity and challenge of performing process design and scale-up of new sustainable technologies developed at laboratory scale.

    Dr Brendon Miller

    Senior Process Engineering Consultant

    Brendon has 20 years of experience as a consulting chemical engineer with a strong background in process modelling and scale-up of new technologies. He is particularly focused on identifying the most efficient methods of delivering and monetising technical innovations.

  • We are hiring!

    Want to join our team? Apply today!

    We are currently looking for a senior manager to support us in the commercialisation of our BioFlex Process.

    A full job advert can be found here.

    We look forward to receiving your applications (CV and cover letter) and any other inquiries on hr@chrysalixtechnologies.com.

  • News

    SME Instrument

    November 2018

    The BioFlex project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 836211.

    2nd Prize at the EIB Social Innovation Tournament

    23 October 2018

    At the Social Innovation Tournament held by the European Investment Bank, Chrysalix wins the second prize in the special category of Circular Economy. We are grateful for the recognition and support that comes with the prize!

    SuperBIO to support further scale-up work

    29 May 2018

    The team has been awarded a voucher under the H2020 SuperBIO programme to carry out more scale-up work together with two industrial partners. The work is scheduled to commence in July 2018.

    21 March 2018

    Florence has been awarded a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship which will support her for the next 12 months to further develop Chrysalix Technologies into a sustainable business.

    30 November 2017

    We are excited to announce that the team won the runner-up prize at the Climate Impact Battle organised by ClimateKIC at Slush in Helsinki. 10 finalists were selected from ClimateKIC accelerator cohorts all over Europe. Learn more about what Chrysalix does in this video.

    16 October 2017

    At the EIT Innovation Forum INNOVEIT held in Budapest, Florence is awarded the EIT Change Award for her work with Chrysalix and ClimateKIC. Watch the short interview here.

    Climate KIC Venture Competition

    18 September 2017

    Chrysalix pitches in the Climate KIC Venture Competition and comes second, taking away a EUR3k prize as well as a ticket to Slush which takes place in Helsinki at the end of November.

    Scale-up work

    9 June 2017

    After the initial proof-of-concept work at the BDC in York, Jason and his team are awarded a Royal Society Translation award to scale-up their process over the next 2 years. Chrysalix is also awarded the BioBase4SME voucher to carry out work at the BioBase Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent. The work started in September and will be finished in January 2018.

    16 January 2017

    We are thrilled to hear that Florence was named by Forbes 30 under 30 as one of Europe’s most promising game changers in the field of Science and Healthcare. Read her interview about her journey from the Climate Launchpad Competition in October to the Forbes 30under30 Science and Healthcare list.

  • Our Supporters

    We are proud to be affiliated with and have been supported by the following institutions and programmes:

  • Get in touch

    We'd love to hear from you, your biomass or your idea for an application of our cellulose and lignin.