Avantium to Build FDCA Plant at Delfzijl

Abstract

Avantium Renewable Polymers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch renewable chemistry specialist Avantium, has signed a letter of intent to build a 5,000 t/y production facility for bio-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a key building block for high-end plastic polyethylene furanoate (PEF), at Chemie Park Delfzijl, in the Netherlands.

Avantium Renewable Polymers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch renewable chemistry specialist Avantium, has signed a letter of intent to build a 5,000 t/y production facility for bio-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a key building block for high-end plastic polyethylene furanoate (PEF), at Chemie Park Delfzijl, in the Netherlands.

Production is envisioned to begin in 2023 near Avantium’s 10 t/y demonstration plant for bio-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) that started up this past November and its pilot bio-refinery, which produces glucose and lignin from non-food biomass.

The company said its renewable polymers offshoot has also signed into a letter of intent with a regional consortium covering €30 million in financing to help with engineering and construction of the flagship plant, along with working capital and start-up costs.

Worley (including the former Jacobs Engineering) has the contract for the detailed engineering studies. Van Aken told a biomarkets trade journal earlier in the year that some €150 million in funding for the project would be needed by the end of 2020.

A definitive financing mix to be determined over the coming months is planned to be a combination of grants, equity and debt. Avantium said it is receiving help from regional authorities in its search for additional grants and other financial instruments. In November 2019, the project won a €25 million grant under the EU’s Horizon 2020 program

The renewables specialist said it is on track to attract funding for the commercial plant and hopes to have the needed capital in place before the end of 2020, adding “We are now focused on progressing our discussions with potential strategic partners.”

Plans for commercial scale renewables production using Avantium’s YXY technology were initially drawn up in October 2016 together with BASF, then the Dutch company’s-partner in the 5050 joint venture Synvina, rebranded as Avantium Renewable Polymers after the breakup. At that time, the facility was expected to be built at BASF’s Antwerp, Belgium, complex.

The then-partners’ stated goal was to combine Avantium’s strengths in technology with BASF’s expertise in market development and large-scale production to create a world leader in FDCA and PEF.

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Farther-reaching visions included licensing the technology.

In January 2019, BASF unexpectedly pulled the plug on its participation following a disagreement over the timing of a full-scale production start. However, Avantium CEO Tom van Aken said his company was “determined to pursue the commercialization of FDCA and PEF – with or without BASF.”

In announcing the firmed-up plans this week, Avantium and a EU-backed regional consortium that includes the Dutch province of Groningen, Groningen Seaports and the Investment and Development Agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), as well as local private equity funds, called the FDCA “an important step in helping transition the chemicals industry away from fossil resources and towards sustainable feedstocks.”

“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, she said the Avantium plant will create over 60 highly skilled jobs and provide significant indirect employment opportunities.


Information comes from Internet sources


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