“Along with the increased innovation the flagship plant will bring to the region, the Avantium plant will create over 60 highly skilled jobs and provides significant indirect employment opportunities.”
Dutch renewable chemicals company Avantium has announced that it will build its furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) flagship plant at Chemie Park Delfzijl, the Netherlands.
The five-kiloton facility will produce plant-based FDCA – a key building block for many chemicals and plastics such as PEF (polyethylene furanoate).
Avantium Renewable Polymers has also entered into a letter of intent with a Regional Consortium (comprising the Province of Groningen, Groningen Seaports, NOM, FondsNieuweDoen, Investeringsfonds Groningen and Groeifonds), relating to the financing of the FDCA flagship plant and associated costs, for an amount of €30 million, over the period to the plant’s completion in 2023.
In a statement, Avantium (@avantium) and the Regional Consortium both said that they believed the new plant will be an important step in helping transition the chemicals industry away from fossil resources and towards sustainable feedstocks.
The new FDCA flagship plant will be located near Avantium’s demonstration plant for plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), and its pilot biorefinery, producing glucose and lignin from non-food biomass. Its MEG plant officially opened last November.
“Avantium and Groningen share an ambition to support the transition to a circular economy,” said Nienke Homan, Regional Minister of the Province of Groningen.
“Along with the increased innovation the flagship plant will bring to the region, the Avantium plant will create over 60 highly skilled jobs and provides significant indirect employment opportunities. Avantium’s decision to build its plant at Delfzijl is a testament to the strong ecosystem that the region provides for green chemistry.”
Cas König, CEO of Groningen Seaports, said: “Avantium’s business fits perfectly into our Chemport Europe ecosystem where we work together on a shared ambition: changing the nature of chemistry. It is our goal to achieve a fully sustainable chemical industry by 2050.”
The regional consortium members and Avantium Renewable Polymers have entered into a letter of intent relating to a conditional financing of €30 million for the engineering and construction of the flagship plant, working capital, start-up costs and operations of Avantium Renewable Polymers.
The financing of the regional consortium is subject to customary conditions, including due diligence and completion of documentation, and formal decisions by Avantium on the construction of the plant and the associated capital expenditure.
The definitive financing mix is to be determined over the coming months, but is intended to comprise grants, equity and debt. Furthermore, the region is supporting Avantium in its search for additional grants and other financial instruments in respect of the required expenses needed for the start-up of the flagship plant.
“Groningen Seaports offers us an excellent location with the right infrastructure. The Province of Groningen is at the forefront of green chemistry development and has an exceptional reputation in investing in technologies for a sustainable future,” said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium.
Van Aken added: “We are delighted to have reached another important step in Avantium Renewable Polymers’ funding process for its FDCA flagship plant. Together with the PEFerence grant and the investments by Avantium, we are on track to attract the funding for the FDCA flagship plant, which we aim to have in place before the end of 2020. We are now focused on progressing our discussions with potential strategic partners.”
In November 2019, the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), an EU body, reconfirmed the award to the PEFerence consortium, coordinated by Avantium Renewable Polymers, of a €25 million “PEFerence” Horizon 2020 grant. This grant supports the establishment of an innovative value chain for the use of plant-based FDCA and PEF.
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.
Speaking to Bio Market Insights in November 2019, Van Aken said that Avantium had made “tremendous progress” after a tough start to the year with BASF pulling out of the JV.
He added: “We are very, very pleased with the speed of developing our projects and bring them to their next stages. We are planning further announcements in the near future in order to reveal more about the forthcoming milestones we will achieve in relation to scaling our PEF technology and FDCA technology and how we plan to bring them to market.”