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Avantium awarded EUR 6 million EU grant to IMPRESS biomass conversion tech

Netherlands-based renewable chemical process developer Avantium N.V. has announced that it has been awarded EUR 6 million as part of a EUR 13 million SPIRE grant to accelerate its "Dawn" and "Mekong" biomass conversion technologies in addition to utilizing its expertise in catalysis. SPIRE, part of Horizon2020, is the European support programme to facilitate Sustainable Process Industry in Europe.

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Netherlands-based Avantium N.V. has been awarded EUR 6 million as part of a EUR 13 million SPIRE grant in the IMPRESS project to accelerate its “Dawn” and “Mekong” biomass conversion technologies and expertise in catalysis.

According to a statement, Avantium will participate in a four-year research programme called IMPRESS starting in September 2019. Avantium will lead the IMPRESS consortium consisting of ten industry and academic organisations across Europe. The consortium received a total SPIRE grant of EUR 13 million.

A forerunner in developing and commercializing innovative technologies for the production of plant-based chemicals and materials, the company is scaling up its new biorefinery process called “Dawn” and a novel catalytic process for plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) called “Mekong”.

Avantium’s Dawn technology converts non-food plant-based feedstock into industrial sugars and lignin. The Mekong technology converts these industrial sugars into plant-based MEG. Together, these processes enable the production of nature-derived polyesters and support the transition of the chemicals and materials industries to non-fossil resources.

New biorefinery concept

The IMPRESS consortium aims to demonstrate a new biorefinery concept based on integrating novel processes such as Avantium’s Dawn and Mekong technologies for the first time. It also intends to develop new separation and purification methods.

The integration of Dawn technology with the production of plant-based MEG by the Mekong technology will be further improved by using the advanced high throughput R&D systems of Avantium Catalysis. The objective is to create a value chain starting from non-edible biomass to renewable chemicals and materials that meet both economic and sustainability criteria.

Apart from Avantium, the IMPRESS consortium consists of nine European companies and knowledge institutes across Europe: Sulzer (CH), Knauer (DE), IRCELYON – Institute of Research on Catalysis and the Environment (French National Centre for Scientific Research  – CNRS and Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 – UCBL), Lenntech (NL), Vogelbusch Biocommodities (AT), Process Design Centre – PDC (NL), Thinkstep (DE), Aalto University (FI) and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk, FI).

The introduction of new plant-based chemical products and materials to the market requires the combination of sourcing plant-based feedstock, deploying disruptive technologies, and successfully engaging with the end-product market. Leading the IMPRESS programme is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with like-minded organisations towards a fossil-free future. It truly leverages the synergies of Avantium’s portfolio of technologies and areas of expertise, said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium.

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