Sustainable products from plant biomass

The world is moving towards a bio based economy. As biological processes replace current industrial processes for the production of chemicals, a cost-effective, clean, non-food source of cellulosic sugars is essential. Leaf Resources’ patent pending Glycell process makes this possible.

The Glycell process is independently validated to produce cellulosic sugars economically and ‘cleaner’ than rival processes. It uses waste glycerol to break down plant biomass at a low temperature, low pressure, environmentally friendly, continuous process to produce cellulosic sugars. Glycell represents a unique opportunity to reshape the economics of using large-scale biomass resources to entirely replace petroleum-derived products worldwide.

“It’s time for the world to shift! All companies face a direct impact from decreasing natural resources, rising populations and disruptions from climate change.”

Mark Parker, CEO Nike

The Glycell Value Equation

The Glycell process is simple, efficient and highly effective. The Glycell™ process is a disruptive, pretreatment technology that uses glycerol as a reagent to make cellulosic sugars from biomass. Cellulosic sugars are the key component in bio-products. The biomass is usually agricultural waste and the glycerol is sourced as a by-product of biodiesel production.

Glycell does this for a fraction of the cost of technologies currently used as alternatives to fossil fuel-based processes. The nearest contender is the dilute acid process, which uses high pressure and heat, and produces inferior quality sugars at $220 per tonne.

Glycell produces larger quantities of better quality sugars at a much faster rate, using low pressure and low heat.

It achieves all this because glycerol attracts moisture, which enables it to isolate the water present in biomass without upsetting the delicate chemical balance needed to produce quality cellulosic sugars.

Transforming By-Products into Profit

The biomass used in the Glycell process is mostly agricultural waste – everything from crop stalks and stubble to hardwood offcuts – and its supply is limitless. There is currently five billion tons of biomass available worldwide, enough for $750 billion worth of cellulosic sugars.

The process has been proven to work effectively on a variety of biomass feedstock, including woody (eucalyptus, poplar) and non-woody feedstock (bagasse, empty fruit bunch and corn) making the process applicable to a wide range of biomass, including low-grade plantation waste. Low-value, marginal agricultural land can be used for growing biomass for the Glycelltechnology, specifically for industrial use.

The Glycell process also refines its reagent, glycerol, to such an extent that it can be repurposed for other industrial uses. As a by-product from bio-diesel production, glycerol is 80 per cent pure. After use in the Glycell process it is 95 per cent pure, meaning it can be sold at a higher value for more refined industrial requirements.

Key Benefits Of The Glycell Process:

  • Cost effective, clean cellulosic sugars
  • Low capital and operating costs
  • Highly accessible cellulose
  • Uses industrially available equipment
  • Continuous process design
  • Versatile scale of operation
  • Enables new world of biological transformation (where microbial cells replace current industrial manufacturing approaches)


By dramatically reducing the cost of the main feedstock for bio based chemicals, plastics and biofuels, the Glycell process has the potential to change the face of global renewable production.

The Glycell process can operate at any scale, small or large, providing maximum flexibility for a plant to be suited to the scale of potential opportunities in the bio-based chemical, bioplastic and biofuel markets.

“Leading the development and use of packaging materials made from sustainable managed renewable resources such as bio-plastics.” 


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