PEFerence, a European consortium coordinated by Avantium Renewable Polymers that is working on polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), has secured a €25m grant from the EU joint undertaking Bio-based Industries (BBI).
The funding will go towards the intended construction of a 5-kilotonne furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) flagship plant, the main chemical building block for the production of PEF, a 100% bio-sourced alternative to PET. PEF is claimed to offer “excellent barrier properties” and with a calculated cost price that can compete with traditional fossil-based products.
The grant was originally awarded to the consortium back in 2017. At that time, the coordination of the consortium was in the hands of Synvina, a joint venture between Avantium and BASF.
That joint venture was dissolved in January 2019, after which Avantium took full ownership of its proprietary YXY plant-to-plastics technology to produce FDCA and PEF.
Renaming the business unit Avantium Renewable Polymers, the company revised the scale-up and commercialisation strategy for PEF, reducing the size of the planned reference facility from 50ktpa to 5ktpa. As a result, Avantium needed to redefine the PEFerence project with BBI JU and its consortium partners. BBI JU has now agreed to the redefined project and has reactivated the PEFerence grant, which will be accessible as of 1 Dec to the consortium.
PEFerence includes 12 European industrial companies and brand owners: LEGO System AS, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co. KG, Spinverse Innovation Management Oy, Tereos Participations SAS, nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH, Nestec SA, OMV Machinery Srl, Worley, Kebony AS, Avantium Chemicals BV and Avantium Renewable Polymers BV.
Avantium estimated the total funding for its FDCA flagship plant at around €150m, according to the company’s announcement during its technology & markets day in June 2019.
“The €25 million PEFerence grant… represents a significant step to cover the funding requirement for the flagship plant for FDCA and we are fully on track towards a planned start-up of the flagship plant in 2023,” said Marcel Lubben, Managing Director of Avantium Renewable Polymers.