Netherlands-based renewable chemical process developer Avantium N.V. has held the official opening of its plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) demonstration plant in Chemie Park Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The opening ceremonies were hosted by Nienke Homan, Minister of the province of Groningen, and Avantium CEO Tom van Aken.
Also during the ceremony, Avantium announced the naming of this innovative technology to produce plant-based MEG: “Ray Technology” – A Bright Step to The Future.
The opening celebrates a significant milestone in commercializing the production of plant-based MEG, a vital ingredient in the production of polyesters widely used in textiles and packaging. Currently, 99 percent of global MEG production is based on fossil resources representing a value of approximately US$25 billion.
Growing global market
This market is expected to rapidly grow in the coming decades, providing a great opportunity for the introduction of plant-based MEG as part of the transition to a more renewable world. In addition to its sustainability advantages, the production of plant-based MEG with Ray Technology is cost-competitive to fossil-based MEG.
The Ray Technology demonstration plant which has an “industrially relevant” capacity of 10 tonnes per annum, will also produce plant-based mono-propylene glycol (MPG). MPG is used in a diverse set of industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food flavouring, and deicing.
The end-to-end plant-based Ray Technology demonstration plant will cover all process steps in converting industrial sugars to glycols, allowing for the production of MEG and MPG samples that are representative of the final product from subsequent commercial-scale plants.
The opening of this demonstration plant signifies years of research and trials to achieve a significant step towards a commercial flagship plant, aimed for start-up in 2024. Commercial conversations are already ongoing with partners who see an economic opportunity with Ray Technology. We talk with feedstock providers who wish to diversify their markets, chemical companies who seek to enter a significant growth market and transition to a bio-based economy and consumer brands who are looking for plant-based solutions for their textiles and packaging, commented Zanna McFerson, Managing Director of Avantium Renewable Chemistries.