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Vertoro receives Seed Financing from Chemelot Ventures and LIOF


Chemelot Ventures, LIOF and the founders will invest €500,000 in Vertoro, a company located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. Vertoro has developed a biobased process to derive bio-oil from waste product lignin (biomass) and will use the funds to scale up production. As bio-oil is made from biomass, it helps to reduce CO2 emissions and paves the way for the production of sustainable products.

Vertoro: developer and producer of bio-oil
Vertoro, which is located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, is the outcome of a project by Chemelot InSciTe, a public-private partnership. An initial upscaling of the bio-oil has already been completed as part of this project. Vertoro and InSciTe are now preparing to construct a pilot plant on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. In early 2019, Vertoro expects to be the first company in the world to produce a barrel of bio-oil from lignin. The company then aims to build a production facility at Chemelot in 2022 with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of bio-oil.

Vertoro, founded in 2017, was a participant in the Brightlands Innovation Factory’s start-up programme in the same year. This is part of the reason that the company is now ready for the current Seed Financing by Chemelot Ventures and LIOF.

Vertoro derives bio-oil from the raw material lignin is a wood polymer found in the cell wall of plants and trees. Currently, lignin is  a by-product in the production of paper and biofuels (bioethanol) and burnt as a waste stream. Vertoro and its development partners have succeeded in developing a technology to convert lignin into valuable bio-oil through an innovative production process that can make an important contribution towards reducing CO2 emissions.

Increasing demand for bio-oil
Global demand for bio-oil is increasing, particularly from industrial companies looking to produce sustainable products from biomass. Similar to fossil-based oil, Vertoro’s bio-oil can be used as a basic raw material for applications in energy (i.e. additive for biodiesel), chemicals, and materials (i.e. bio-phenol for plastics).

Suppliers of lignin also have a keen interest in Vertoro’s production process, as this is the first time that there has been an efficient process for converting the low-grade lignin into a raw material for high-grade products. Following the local upscaling, Vertoro – literally ‘green gold’ – will license out the technology and market bio-oil worldwide.

Michael Boot CEO of Vertoro and Panos Kouris CTO of Vertoro: ‘Our bio-oil provides a fantastic basis for producing clean energy and sustainable chemicals and materials. We can see that Brightlands brings together all these success factors.’