Dutch biotechnology company Avantium has unveiled a series of plans to commercialise its YXY technology to produce 100% renewable and fully recyclable polyethylene furanoate (PEF) polymers.
During a “technology and markets day” event 6 June, the company said it had revised its scale-up policy after taking full ownership of the Synvina bioplastics business from JV partner BASF earlier this year.
Synvina was formed in 2016 to commercialise the YXY technology developed by Avantium to produce PEF-building block FDCA. But BASF terminated its partnership earlier this year, citing disagreements over implementing the terms of the agreement.
As part of its new plan, Avantium said it intended to build a cash-flow positive flagship plant with a planned annual capacity of 5 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of FDCA and PEF.
The plant will produce products for high-value markets and performance applications such as high-barrier films and specialty bottles.
Avantium said it would maintain control of flagship and licensing business of YXY, while building a network of committed partners throughout the value chain.
Engineering company Worley – formerly known as Jacobs Engineering, has already started the design of the 5ktpa plant, slated for 2023 start-up.
Site selection in northwestern continental Europe is to be completed in the second half of 2019.
Avantium expects to make an investment decision for the construction of the plant by the end of 2020.
Additionally, Avantium said the Synvina business unit has been renamed Avantium Renewable Polymers and operates under the Avantium brand.
The YXY plant-to-plastics–process catalytically converts plant-based sugars into a wide range of chemicals and plastics, such as PEF.
Avantium has successfully demonstrated the YXY Technology at its pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.
“We strongly believe in our YXY technology and the unique properties of PEF and are steadfastly moving towards commercialisation,” said Tom van Aken, CEO Avantium.
The revised scale-up and market launch strategy, said Van Aken, “meets both market and capital requirements.”
“Building our flagship plant with an annual capacity of 5 kilotonnes will allow our market entry in high-value applications such as high-barrier films and specialty bottles. PEF is ideally suited to compete on performance and command the best price in these applications,” the Avantium boss added.
In the future, with increased scale, Avantium expects PEF to be able to compete in high-volume markets, including bottles for carbonated soft drinks and other beverages.
In its launch strategy, Avantium will particularly focus on value chain partnerships.
“We partner with feedstock providers, future licensees, convertors and consumer brands,” Van Aken concluded.