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Avantium plans to open bio-MEG demo plant in November.

Avantium CEO Tom van Aken

“Avantium will scale from lab to a size that mimics the conditions at a commercial-scale plant.”

Dutch renewable chemicals company Avantium has said that it is expecting to open its bio-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) demonstration plant in November in the Netherlands.

The company made the announcement in its 2019 half-year results which was published on 20 August.

As MEG is a component for making everyday consumer goods, such as PET and PEF plastics and polyester textiles, the development of an environmentally-friendly plant-based alternative has strong potential, the company said. 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 tonnes in the next 20 years.

Avantium’s (@Avantium) proprietary Mekong technology converts glucose into plant-based MEG.

In a statement, the company said it plans to open its Mekong demonstration plant in November in Delfzijl, based in the northeast of the Netherlands.

According to the company, the opening of the demo plant is a “major step forward in commercialising” the Mekong technology in that “Avantium will scale from lab to a size that mimics the conditions at a commercial-scale plant”.

Based on the results of the demo plant, Avantium will be able to validate the technical performance and refine its economic opportunity, it said. The company also said that it intends to make an investment decision regarding a possible commercial-scale flagship plant in 2022, if the testing on the demo scale proved successful.

Avantium added that it was pressing ahead with its proprietary Dawn technology, which produces industrial sugars and lignin from forestry residues in its pilot biorefinery in Delfzijl. The company said an investment decision on a possible Dawn flagship plant will be expected by 2021.

All in all, the company said it had been awarded €3 million in EU grants to develop its Mekong and Dawn technologies.

Elsewhere, Avantium reiterated its plans to commercialise its plant-to-plastics YXY technology to produce furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF) polymers. It is pressing ahead with plans to launch a YXY flagship plant in 2023. This plant is expected to produce 5 kilotons of FCDA and PEF per year.

The announcement marks a new chapter for the company which came out of a joint venture (JV) partnership with chemical giant BASF earlier this year. The JV called Synvina was formed in 2016 to commercialise the YXY technology developed by Avantium to produce FDCA. However, BASF terminated its partnership earlier this year, citing disagreements over implementing the terms of the agreement.

Commenting on Avantium’s new plans, Avantium CEO Tom van Aken said: “The year started with the acquisition of 100% ownership of the Synvina joint venture, a review of the company strategy and technology portfolio and financing going forward.

“Our focus is on those technologies with the highest value potential. Our plant-to-plastics YXY technology to produce FDCA and PEF is progressing towards commercialisation with leading engineering services company Worley conducting detailed pre-engineering studies for a 5 kilotons flagship plant. Our focus remains on delivering the milestones on our journey towards opening this flagship plant in 2023. Avantium aims to secure funding and make the investment decision for construction of this flagship by the end of 2020.”

Elsewhere, Avantium announced that its first half 2019 revenues decreased by €1.2 million to €5.2 million due to timing of an order intake. The company also said higher revenues in the first half of 2018 and new contracts negotiated towards the end of the first half of 2019 caused a shift in revenues.


If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the bioeconomy stories below.

Read: Avantium targets 2023 opening for planned bioplastics plant and rebrands Synvina business.

Read: EXCLUSIVE: BASF announces official exit from bio-plastics JV with Avantium.

Read: Avantium buys out BASF’s stake in Synvina JV.

Read: 5 Minutes with… Paul Mines of Biome Bioplastics.

Read: BBC covers biodegradable bioplastics made from cactus juice.

Read: Inside story: Synvina – the joint venture of BASF and Avantium.

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