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Avantium Start Producing Bio-Based Polyester at Pilot Plant in Netherlands

Avantium announces the successful start-up of its polyester pilot plant at the Chemelot site in Geleen, the Netherlands. The polyester plant is the first part of the pilot plant that Avantium is building at its new site to demonstrate its YXY technology for green materials and fuels. Avantium’s monomer pilot plant is scheduled to become operational in the second half of 2011.

The YXY polyester pilot plant will produce bioplastics based on Avantium’s YXY technology. Avantium acquired the polyester pilot plant from Johnson Matthey in the United Kingdom, where the plant was used for the production, development and testing of oil-based polyesters, such as PET (polyethylene-terephthalate) in Johnson Matthey’s polyester catalyst business. Avantium will use the polyester pilot plant for the production, development and testing of biobased polyesters, such as PEF (poly-ethylene-furanoate).

The operation of the polyester pilot plant is an important step in Avantium’s development of PEF, a next-generation biobased polyester that will compete with oil-based polyesters such as PET. Avantium has demonstrated that PEF has numerous superior properties over PET, including barrier properties (oxygen, carbon-dioxide and water) and its ability to withstand heat. The YXY technology makes it possible to produce a 100% biobased and 100% recyclable polyester. Avantium is actively working on the development of PEF bottles for water, soft drinks, fruit juices, alcoholic drinks, food, diary, cosmetic products, soaps and detergents. In parallel, Avantium is developing PEF fibers for textile, carpet and industrial applications.

Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium comments: “The start-up of our polyester pilot plant is another milestone of our development of our YXY technology for biobased materials. We have successfully produced the first batches of our biopolymer PEF in the pilot plant. It demonstrates that we can use existing PET production assets to manufacture PEF. The compatibility of our products with existing production assets and supply chains will facilitate the adoption of our technology. The YXY pilot plant will make larger volumes of PEF available for application development to commercialize this 100% biobased and 100% recyclable bioplastic.”

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