Avantium: Biofuels Digest’s 2014 5-Minute Guide

February 25, 2014 |

Company description:

Avantium is a leading renewable chemicals company that develops and commercializes next generation biobased plastics and chemicals.

The company has established over the years a leading market position in providing advanced catalysis services and systems to companies in the oil, gas, chemical and renewable sector. From 2005 onwards, Avantium has developed a proprietary technology to produce Furanics building blocks from plant based sugars, under the name YXY. These Furanics building blocks are the basis of a next-generation plant-based plastics and chemicals.

The YXY technology is a 2-step chemical, catalytic process to convert sugars to Furan-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a biobased alternative to terephthalic acid (TA). Avantium focuses its efforts on using FDCA to produce the polyester, Polyethylene-furanoate (PEF), a 100% biobased material that could replace Polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) in large markets such as bottles, fiber and film.

Rankings

30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals & Materials: #15, 2013/14

Biofuels Digest Awards

2012 Best Project (pilot) Award: Gevo, Virent, Avantium — renewable paraxylene

The Situation

YXY is used as a fast and efficient chemical-catalytic technology to convert carbohydrates produced from plants, grains, energy crops, lignocellulosic matter, waste streams, waste paper or agricultural residues, into a wide variety of bio-based polymers. Based on ongoing R&D programs, Avantium will also continue to develop PEF from renewable feedstock not competing with food.

Avantium has recently opened its pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands, with the capacity of producing 40 tons of PEF for application development. The collaborations with Danone and The Coca-Cola Company are key to secure a smooth transition into the mass production phase of PEF bottles. Avantium is in active discussion with other leading brand owners to develop PEF bottles, fibers and film. In the longer term Avantium will license its YXY technology to enable large scale, world-wide production and use of its bio-sourced plastic materials.

Major Investors:

Sofinnova (Paris), Capricorn (Belgium), Aescap (Netherlands), ING (Netherlands) en Aster (Paris).

Business Model:

Avantium is the exclusive owner of its propriety YXY technology to produce chemical building blocks for making green materials.

Avantium plans to further develop and commercialize its YXY technology in collaboration with a range of partners to create a Furanics supply chain. Avantium’s strategy is to build and operate the first commercial production plant to enable the commercial launch of PEF bottles by its development partners including The Coca-Cola Company and Danone. Subsequent to the demonstration of its YXY technology at commercial scale, Avantium intends to sell licenses to chemical and polymer companies to monetize this proprietary technology platform.

Past Milestones 2009-2013:

  • Closing of EUR 30 million financing in June 2011 led by Sofinnova Partners
  • Construction pilot plant at Chemelot in Geleen, The Netherlands
  • Successful start-up of the pilot plant
  • Signing of Joint Development Partnerships with The Coca Cola Company and Danone for the development of 100% biobased PEF bottles
  • Joint development agreements with Solvay and Rhodia for the development of FDCA based polyamides
  • In 2012, Avantium announced a Joint Development Agreement for the development of PEF bottles with Danone Research. Based on the YXY technology, the Avantium and Danone Research joint objective is to contribute to the emergence of a new renewable material generation which will not be in direct competition with food.
  • In June 2013, Avantium and ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner, a leading plastic converters, today announced their joint development agreement for the development of PEF bottles. ALPLA is the third company to collaborate with Avantium on PEF, a bioplastic based on Avantium’s proprietary YXY technology. ALPLA will develop PEF bottles for personal care/ home care applications, such as cosmetics and detergents and for food applications such as sauces, dressings, baby foods and edible oils. Avantium is currently planning a 50,000 ton commercial plant, which is projected to be operational in 2016 to enable the full commercial launch of the first PEF bottles to consumers.

Future Milestone Goals 2014-15:

  • Continuing design, engineering and construction of the 1st Commercial plant
  • Mechanically complete and first production of the 1st Commercial plant

Competitive Edge:

The current process yield of Avantium’s YXY technology will allow competing on basis of price and performance with petroleum-based chemicals

Distribution, Research, Marketing or Production Partnerships or Alliances:

Avantium has currently Joint Application Development Agreements in place with TCCC and Danone for the development of 100% biobased PEF bottles and with Solvay and Rhodia for the development of FDCA based polyamides.  Additionally several partnership discussions are ongoing which provides access to a diverse of sustainable downstream demand for the YXY Technology, secures feedstock supply and supports the construction of the next large industrial scale plants.

Stage:

Demonstrate the YXY process technology at commercial scale

Company Website 

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Category: 5-Minute Guide

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