Renewable chemistry company Avantium N.V. has been granted a subsidy of €5.4 by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO, which will be used for the expansion of Avantium’s FDCA pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. The funds, awarded under the Agency’s Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation (DEI+) scheme, will be paid out in 16 tranches over a period of 4 years. This scheme has been put in place to provide financial support to projects contributing to a cost-effective reduction of CO2 emissions by the year 2030.
As the grant is solely designated for the expansion of the pilot plant in Geleen, the funds will not be applied by the company for the potential construction of the FDCA flagship plant in Delfzijl.
FDCA is the key ingredient for producing fully recyclable, plant-based polymer polyethylene furanoate, or PEF, a biopolyester that could take the place of PET in a wide range of applications, including bottles, packaging, film and textiles.
The subsidy will enable Avantium to set up new units in the FDCA pilot plant to demonstrate the optimal polymerisation, as well as the mechanical recycling of pure PEF and PET/PEF mixtures.
PEF can be used in both monolayer PEF applications and as a barrier material in multilayer PET applications instead of other barrier materials, such as PA. Multi-layered PET/PEF structures not only showed enhanced barrier properties, they are also fully recyclable, the company says. Once the new units are installed, this claim can be further validated and demonstrated in bottle, film and fibre applications.
“The new piloting units will allow Avantium to independently test and prove all the steps in our YXY Technology,” said Heleen Goorissen, Director Innovation & Technology of Avantium Renewable Polymers, as the technology developed by the company is known. That technology catalytically converts plant-based sugar into FDCA, the building block for PEF and many other plant-based chemicals and plastics .
As a result of the planned expansion, the facilities at the FDCA pilot plant in Geleen will cover the entire PEF value chain, creating a true centre of excellence for Avantium’s YXY Technology.
This, in turn, will ‘support the successful operations of our FDCA flagship plant, planned to start-up in 2023’, said Gorissen, and ‘enables us to actively file new patent applications to protect our leading FDCA/PEF position and our licensing strategy’.