Meridian Waste Solutions Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary Meridian Innovations LLC, announced exclusive licensing of the AST-Organosolv Process Technology from American Science and Technology Corp.
Under the terms of its agreement, Meridian Innovations will have an exclusive commercial license to the AST patents and a lease for the AST biomass processing facility in Wausau, Wisc.
Meridian Innovations says it is confident that, using the AST technology alongside Meridian Innovations’ process engineering and biomaterial development resources, a sustainable commercial bio-refining industry can be immediately launched.
The company says its technology platform is largely in response to the current inefficiencies and outdated technology used in the pulp and paper industry. It argues that current pulp and paper processing methods are designed to only recover and sell about 50 percent of the processed biomass into high-value applications, meaning that the remaining 50 percent must be incinerated to recover and recycle the sodium-based solvents.
The AST technology uses organic solvents to separate the biomass into fractions in lieu of sodium-based solvents. These organic solvents can be recovered and reused without incineration, allowing for the recovery of nearly 100 percent of the biomass constituents. The cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin can all be recovered and converted into high-value materials whereas traditional methods only recover cellulose.
One opportunity stems from AST’s ability to recover and produce a melt-flowing form of lignin. The production of a melt-flowing form of lignin allows an otherwise under-valued lignin stream to capitalize on new market opportunities. The company sites as an example that when used as a high-performance resin extender in thermoplastics, lignin brings a value of $600 to $2,000 per ton, depending on the performance requirements, substantially greater than the $50 per ton value when incinerated.
Meridian says its can cost-effectively build biomass processing systems that range in capacity from 200 to 2,000 tons per day. It also thinks it can build and locate processing systems that reach a wider variety of feedstock opportunities such as peanut shells, rice hulls, corn stover, cotton stems, peach pits, perennial grasses, woody biomass and other crop residuals.
“The patented AST-Organsolv process is a valuable addition to our portfolio and we look forward to continuing to develop, license and acquire additional technologies and businesses that we believe will allow us to build a highly profitable company that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and creates thousands of green collar jobs,” Meridian CEO Jeff Cosman said in a statement.