The world is moving towards a biobased economy .  As biological processes replace current industrial processes for the production of chemicals, a cheap, 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 at under $50/tonne and ‘cleaner’ than rival processes. It uses waste glycerol to break down plant biomass in 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.



Global Companies committed to
sustainable manufacturing

The Glycell process has the potential to significantly increase the viability of industrialising biology – an evolution that the USA National Academy of Sciences said will be “as important in the next 50 years as semiconductors have been to economic growth over the last 50 years.”

Global manufacturers are increasingly aware of the economic and environmental consequences of continuing to use fossil fuel-based production methods. Organisations like Coca Cola, Nestle, Unilever and Danone are now committed to sustainable manufacturing processes that are at least as cost-effective as conventional production, and significantly lower impact. The result is a rapidly growing billion-dollar market for bio-products and associated input technologies, of which Glycell is a leader.

Key benefits of the Glycell process:

  • Cheap, clean cellulosic sugars
  • Low capital and operating costs
  • 94 per cent cellulose recovery
  • 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)


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 at $47 per tonne – a cost that is comparable to current fossil fuel-based production prices.

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 Glycell technology, 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.

“We are working to completely eliminate the use of non-renewable fossil fuels in our plastic bottles while maintaining quality and recyclability.” - Coca Cola


Leaf Resource’s patented Glycell process uses a low cost recyclable, biodegradable reagent glycerol to breaks down plant biomass into lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose at low temperatures and pressure.

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The cellulose is then converted to cellulosic sugars through enzymatic hydrolysis and the lignin, hemicellulose and glycerol become valuable co-products. Cellulosic sugars are a major feedstock for green, renewable biobased chemicals, bioplastics and biofuels, products with fast-growing multi-billion dollar markets. The Glycell process can produce cellulosic sugars at under $50 per tonne when co-products are included. This compares with $220 per tonne for sugars produced from the conversion of cornstarch, the cheapest alternative and $280 per tonne for raw sugar.

The Glycell™ Process in Detail


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.

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


Significant opportunities exist to work with Leaf Resources in relation to the development of the Glycell process and future infrastructure developments. We welcome discussion with specialist organisations in associated industries.

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