• 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. Cellulose is a widely used commodity, e.g. for the production of paper and films, and is the source of cellulosic sugars, which can be used for the production of various bio-plastics and fine chemicals. Lignin can potentially be used for a variety of applications, for example as a bio-derived adhesive. 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.

  • Team

    Meet our passionate team working towards a more sustainable future.

    Florence Gschwend

    CEO & Co-Founder

    Florence is a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow and CEO of Chrysalix. During her PhD, which was funded by the Grantham Institute and ClimateKIC, she has partaken in many entrepreneurial programmes and 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.

    Jason Hallett

    Scientific and Technical Adviser & Co-Founder

    Jason is Reader in Sustainable Chemical Technology at Imperial College’s Chemical Engineering Department. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. He now 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.

    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.

  • 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 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.