The new plant will use Avantium’s pioneering Mekong technology to convert renewable sugars into bio-based MEG, an environmentally friendly plant-based drop-in for making everyday consumer goods, such as PET and PEF plastics and polyester textiles. Today, more than 99% of MEG is produced from fossil resources and the market demand for this product is expected to grow from 28 million to 50 million tons in the next 20 years.
‘Our novel single-step process can finally fulfil this demand in an environmentally sustainable manner that both consumers and leading brands have been seeking. This enables renewable products growth for consumers that increasingly demand products brought to them in a responsible manner,’ said Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium.
‘This is a major step forward in the development of our Mekong technology,’ said Zanna McFerson, Chief Business Development Officer of Avantium. ‘In addition to the environmental benefits, this demonstration plant will replicate commercial scale conditions of producing cost-effective bio-MEG; a drop-in product identical to the fossil-derived product. We are exploring partnership opportunities in bringing this technology to full-scale commercialization globally.’
The plant – part of a previously disclosed €15-20 million investment in advanced technologies – will be operational in 2019, employing up to 20 people. The final location has not yet been disclosed, since the company is still negotiating two possible locations in the Netherlands. In anticipation of this, components are already being fabricated.
Avantium has been running pilot plants on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen for several years and is approaching the completion of a biorefinery pilot plant in Delfzijl for the Zambezi technology, which produces very pure glucose and lignin from non-food biomass. This biorefinery is being realized in collaboration with AkzoNobel, RWE, Staatsbosbeheer and Chemport Europe. In Antwerp, Avantium is cooperating with BASF on the a commercial scale factory for the production of FDCA.