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Avantium closes financing for FDCA plant

Avantium NV has reached financial close for the construction of a 5,000 ton FDCA plant, one of the two monomers needed to make fossil-free, recyclable PEF.

Polyethylene furanoate (PEF) is 100% fossil-free when  made from 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) with fructose as a carbon source und mono-ethylene glycol (MEG).  Until 2008, Avantium formed a joint venture with BASF, to produce the thermoplastic polymer, which shows superior material properties compared to PET. BASF then pulled out because Avantium did not meet agreed deadlines.

Now, the Dutch fermentation specialist got the money to produce PEF by its YXY plant-to-plastics–technology through investments of the new minority shareholders Worley and the Groningen Consortium in Avantium Renewable Polymers, a subsidiary that will manage the FDCA Flagship Plant, and a €90m debt financing signed by ABN AMRO Bank, ASN Bank, ING Bank and Rabobank, as well as with impact investment fund Invest-NL. Avantium will complete construction by the end of 2023 and will start production of PEF in 2024.

Worley and Groningen Consortium (Bio Plastics Investment Groningen, BPIG) acquired a 22.6% share in Avantium Renewable Polymers. Avantium CEO Tom van Aken commented: “It is a huge step forward in bringing a new, revolutionary material to the market, and a milestone in the sustainability transition of the packaging, fibre and specialty markets. Avantium is now ready to build and operate the world’s first FDCA commercial plant, meeting the growing global demand for sustainable and circular materials.”

Avantium’s Ray Technology™ catalytically converts industrial sugars to plant-based MEG  plantMEG™. A demonstration plant in Delfzijl opened in November 2019. In 2018, Avantium opened the Dawn Technology™ pilot biorefinery in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Next to developing and commercialising renewable chemistry technologies, the company also provides advanced catalysis R&D services and systems to customers in the refinery and chemical industries.