Leaf Biotech, a biobased materials company, announced the completion of a nearly 200 million yuan Series B strategic financing round. The funds from this round will primarily be used to establish the world's first production line with a capacity of 10,000 tons for FDCA (2,5-furandicarboxylic acid) and its derivative products, as well as continuous optimization of the production process.
Leaf Biotech was founded in 2014, and its research team comes from the Biomass Clean Energy Key Laboratory of Anhui Province at the University of Science and Technology of China. The team began researching the synthesis route of FDCA monomers in 2010, making them the first team in China to conduct research on FDCA. Currently, Leaf Biotech has become a leading company in the industry for the development and production of FDCA, a fully biobased new material, and its downstream applications. The main products include FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid), HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural, an upstream intermediate product of FDCA), and their downstream derivatives.
FDCA has a similar chemical structure and properties to PTA (purified terephthalic acid), an intermediate product in petrochemicals. It can replace PTA in almost all downstream reactions. Compared to PTA, FDCA is 100% derived from biomass raw materials, reduces carbon emissions by 50% to 70%, is biodegradable, and has more unique and superior application properties. It can be widely used in packaging materials, textile fibers, specialty plastics, power batteries, and other downstream fields, with an "application space worth hundreds of billions."
Leaf Biotech has established core technological barriers in raw material selection, catalyst systems, and industrialization systems. By the end of 2022, Leaf Biotech had built the world's first kiloton-scale FDCA production line in Bengbu, with cumulative sales revenue reaching tens of millions. In 2023, it achieved a breakthrough in the continuous production process of FDCA using non-food biomass sugars as raw materials, reaching a new level in cost control and industrial production scale. In addition, Leaf Biotech is currently conducting research and development on fully biobased polyester new material PEF (polyethylene furanoate) and the preparation of PEF bottles, fibers, films, and other products.
Compared to PET, PEF is a material with stronger barrier properties against CO2 and O2. Due to its higher mechanical strength, PEF can produce thinner packaging, reducing the weight of films and bottles. Based on its functional, environmental, and innovative advantages, PEF is recognized as a promising new material in the bioplastics market.
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