Netherlands-based renewable chemical process developer Avantium N.V. has announced that it has been awarded EUR 1.3 million for its Dawn and Mekong Technologies from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The total subsidy granted to the Industry Consortium “VEHICLE” consisting of 8 European companies, is EUR 5.9 million.
Coordinated by subsidiary Avantium Chemicals B.V., the “Valorise Extensive quantities of HemIcellulosic and Cellulosic sugars from Lignocellulosic biomass into high-value End products” (VEHICLE) consortium is working on developing 100 percent plant-based chemicals produced from renewable raw materials.
During the four-year project, the VEHICLE consortium members aim to widen the business and market opportunities of existing and future biorefineries by demonstrating the applicability of their sugar streams in several downstream options.
The role of Avantium in VEHICLE is to provide sugar streams from non-food feedstock. This sugar is produced in Avantium’s Dawn Technology pilot biorefinery in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Avantium will also convert industrial sugars from the consortium partners, including the sugars from Avantium’s DAWN pilot biorefinery, into plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) through its Mekong technology.
Drop-in platform component
Plant-MEG is a drop-in component used in the production of many materials, including plant-based polyesters. VEHICLE consists of several other leading companies across Europe: Ecohelix (SE), Metgen Oy (FI), Novamont Spa (IT), Spinverse (FI), Kemira (FI), Fundacio Universitaria Balmes (ES) and Graanul Biotech Ou (EE). VEHICLE accelerates the establishment of innovative value chains throughout Europe for the production of plant-based chemicals and materials.
The grant is a strong signal for Avantium and our partners in VEHICLE to continue our mutual work to develop 100 percent plant-based chemicals, produced from renewable non-food feedstock. We share the common goal to replace fossil-based chemicals and materials with renewable alternatives, said Zanna McFerson, Managing Director of Avantium Renewable Chemistries.
The project has received funding from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 837866.
Running from May 2019 to April 2023, the “Valorise Extensive quantities of HemIcellulosic and Cellulosic sugars from Lignocellulosic biomass into high-value End products” VEHICLE) project will demonstrate novel biotechnological and non-biotechnological technologies for providing and valorising low value sugar streams, thereby enabling significant progress in holistic and sustainable utilisation of lignocellulosic biomass.
The main goals for this project are to demonstrate valorisation of dilute hemicellulose-containing pre-hydrolysate streams from pulp mills, which are currently waste streams with little value. The demonstration will take place by Ecohelix at the Domsjö Fabriker dissolving pulp mill in Sweden. In addition, to widen the business and market opportunities of existing biorefinery investments by demonstrating the applicability of their sugar streams in several downstream options.
Sugar streams will be provided by Avantium and Graanul from their demonstration and flagship facilities that are currently under construction.
Subsequently the use of hemicellulose polymers from pre-hydrolysis streams in different pulp and paper product applications will be demonstrated by Kemira as well as the conversion of hemicellulose and cellulose-based sugars into intermediate and building block chemicals – glycols (MEG and MPG), butanediol and long chain diacids – as well as into specialty sugars (glucosone, fructose) by Metgen, Avantium and Novamont.
The VEHICLE project will give special attention to secure the market demand and marketability of the produced intermediate molecules by demonstrating their use in a minimum of five end applications. In all three business cases VEHICLE maximises the weighted % of valorised feedstock, by covering more than one component and more than one product.
UVIC will utilize well-established LCA methodologies to assess the environmental and economic impacts of the developed products and processes. VEHICLE is based on sound business cases and business plans of three very promising value chains demonstrated by Ecohelix/Kemira, Avantium and Novamont. Combined with the 3 feedstock sources, up to 9 new value chains can be created.