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New joint venture Synvina to take a “globally leading role” in FDCA production.

Germany and the Netherlands are joining forBASF's headquartersces in a new joint venuure – Synvina. The partnership between BASF ( @BASF ) and Avantium (@Avantium ) aims to further developsolutions as well as making and marketingthem in a commercially viable production process. Synvina will be based in Amsterdam to produce and market furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is made from renewable resources. Additionally, they will bring polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) to the industry which is developed from the new chemical foundation FDCA. The goal of the cooperation platform is to develop a complete supply chain for PEF as sustainable bio-based packaging material.

This FDCA chemical will be used in the production of PEF which is a polyester that can be used in food and beverage packaging as well as the textile industry. PEF is expected to reduce emissions and non-renewable energy, plus it is 100% recyclable. It offers a cost-effective solution to make a wide range of plastic bottles, packaging and fibres. The chemical will extend expiry dates as its packaging will be able to prevent gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen. Additionally, this packaging will have a better mechanical strength despite it being thinner which will reduce the amount of resources used. PEF can be used for:

  • Foil pouches
  • Bottles for soft drinks
  • Water
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Personal and health care products

Alongside the polyester PEF, FDCA can be processed to polyamides for engineering plastics and fibres, to polyurethanes for foams, coatings and adhesives and to esters for personal care products and lubricants.

The joint venture was created to put the two businesses a step forward on a global platform to become the primary source to produce these chemicals. It is expected that millions of euros will be invested to fund a new reference plantwith an annual capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons per year at BASFs Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, and to license the technology for industrial scale production. Synvina will use the YXY process developed by Avantium for the production of FDCA

However, the two chemical companies have established a name for themselves in their own right, so some aspects of each business will be kept the same. BASF currently employs 112,000 staff and has joint ventures in over 80 countries. Dr. Stefan Blank, President of BASFs Intermediates division said: With Synvina well enter the promising business with FDCA and PEF and to support our customers in the various industries to create value. We strongly believe that the future belongs to these products based on renewable resources. They combine superior characteristics with a production process based on renewable feedstock.

Whilst Avantium was founded in February 2000 as a response to Shell. Their aim has been to increase and exploit the application of high-throughput research and development. This was initially developed by Shell for catalysis research, across a range of industries. Since Avantiums start-up, the company has a good reputation for its advanced catalysis services & systems so the decision has been made that Avantium will continue using its rapport with leading brands associated with FDCA and PEF.

Alongside Toyobo, Japan’s top maker of fibres and textiles, Avantium and BASF will jointly boost the PEF polymerizationand further develop PEF films for food packaging, in electronics applications such as displays or solar panels, industrial and medical packages. With Mitsui, the Japanese developer for chemicals, food and textiles etc., Synvina will work on developing PEF thin films and PEF bottles in Japan. Furthermore, the joint venture aims to continue the development partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA and other companies on the Joint Development Platform for PEF bottles.

Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium believes FDCA is a sleeping giant with huge potential. Although it was first produced in the 1950s, it has never been successfully developed and brought to market until nowI strongly believe that Synvinawill wake up that sleeping giant and make it available for industrial use It will benefit from BASFs expertise in market development and large-scale production and as a reliable chemical company in the business of intermediates and polymers.

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