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Avantium awarded funding for Rebiolution project

Avantium awarded funding for Rebiolution project
Avantium headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (photo courtesy Avantium).

The Netherlands-headed renewable chemistry technology provider Avantium N.V. has announced that it has been awarded a EUR 0.76 million grant by the EU Horizon Europe programme for its participation in the ‘Novel biodegradable, REcyclable, BIO-based and safe plastic polymers with enhanced circuLar properties for food packaging and agricUltural applicaTIONs’ (Rebiolution) project.

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Avantium has developed the “YXY Technology” that converts plant-based sugars into furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which can be polymerized together with plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) into sustainable plastic, polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

As a monomer, FDCA brings the opportunity to create a variety of polymers, from polyesters, polyamides, and polyurethanes, to coating resins, plasticizers, and other chemical products.

Avantium is currently constructing the world’s first commercial FDCA facility in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, with a capacity of 5 000 tonnes per annum and is set to open in 2024.

Supply FDCA

Coordinated by Germany-headed global chemicals major BASF SE (BASF), the Rebiolution project aims to design and synthesize biobased and biodegradable polyester blends based on FDCA and other biobased monomers, to be used as plastic coating for food packaging and mulch films for agricultural applications.

Under the Rebiolution project, Avantium will provide several hundred kilos of FDCA for the development and production of a biodegradable and compostable polyester blend.

We are delighted to supply FDCA for the Rebiolution project. FDCA was listed in 2004 by the US Department of Energy as the number two in the top 12 priority chemicals for establishing the green chemistry industry of the future. Avantium’s polymerization-quality FDCA is not only the key building block for the plant-based plastic material PEF but has many other potential applications in various markets, as shown by this project, said Bas Blom, Director of Avantium Renewable Polymers.

The EUR 0.76 million grant will be paid out in tranches to Avantium over a period of three years, starting in June 2023.

Facts

About Rebiolution

The ‘Novel biodegradable, REcyclable, BIO-based and safe plastic polymers with enhanced circuLar properties for food packaging and agricUltural applicaTIONs’ (Rebiolution) project has received a EUR 4.9 million EU Horizon Europe grant in total (grant agreement No. 101082040) and is expected to be executed over three years.

The Rebiolution consortium is composed of nine partners from seven different countries: BASF SE, Germany (Coordinator); Organic Waste Systems NV, Belgium; Hydra Marine Sciences GmbH, Germany; Contactica S.L, Spain; Avantium Renewable Polymers BV, the Netherlands; Tampereen Korkeakoulusaatio SR, Finland; Stora Enso Oyj, Finland; Centre Technique de L’Industrie des Papiers Cartons et Celluloses, France; and Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zurich, Switzerland.

Produce bioplastic and mulch film

The intention is to use the resulting Rebiolution bioplastic as a coating for food packaging (paper/plastics composites), as an alternative to fossil-based polyethylene (PE).

Another intended application for the Rebiolution bioplastic is to use it as mulch films for agricultural applications. As such, this new polyester could be a fully biobased alternative for the widely used butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT), which is partly fossil-based.

FDCA is a key element in the Rebiolution strategy. The potential of FDCA is based on its plant-based origin and on its structural similarity to the largest-volume commodity chemical, purified terephthalic acid (PTA). By reacting FDCA with other biobased monomers, we intend to produce a 100 percent biobased and biodegradable polyester that also fulfills requirements regarding processing, lifetime, performance, and cost-effectiveness. We strongly believe that the resulting bioplastic can help to achieve the challenging circularity goals which the EU sets itself, commented Kai Siegenthaler, Coordinator of the Rebiolution project and responsible for biopolymers research at BASF.

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