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Avantium secures EUR 25 million Horizon 2020 financing for FDCA flagship plant

The Netherlands-headed renewable chemical process developer Avantium B.V. has announced that the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), an EU body, reconfirmed to award the "PEFerence" project consortium with a EUR 25 million grant under the European Union's Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme.

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), has reconfirmed a EUR 25 million grant under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme to the “PEFerence” project consortium. Led by Avantium Renewable Polymers the objective is to build a 100% bio-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) plant to demonstrate new 100% bio-based materials (PEF,PBF, and polyurethanes), show cost efficiency and improved properties of PEF compared to PET and focus on applications where PEF brings the most value while substantially reducing non-renewable energy use and carbon emissions compared to petroleum-based plastics and other materials (graphic courtesy PEFerence).

The PEFerence project grant was originally awarded in 2017 to the PEFerence consortium under the coordination of Synvina, the former joint venture of Avantium and BASF. After the dissolution of the Synvina joint venture in January 2019, Avantium took full ownership of the YXY plant-to-plastics technology to produce furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

Avantium revised the scale-up and commercialization strategy for PEF, which includes a planned construction of a 5 000 tonne FDCA flagship plant. As a result, Avantium needed to redefine the PEFerence project with BBI JU and its consortium partners.

BBI JU has now agreed to the redefined project coordinated by Avantium Renewable Polymers, and has reactivated the PEFerence grant to the consortium, which will have access to the subsidy from December 1, 2019, onwards.

Twelve industrial companies and brand owners form the PEFerence consortium: LEGO System AS, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co. KG, Spinverse Innovation Management Oy, Tereos Participations SAS, nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH, Nestec SA, OMV Machinery Srl, Worley, Kebony AS, Avantium Chemicals B.V., and Avantium Renewable Polymers B.V.

The PEFerence partners aim to replace a significant share of fossil-based polyesters with the 100 percent plant-based PEF. PEF’s excellent barrier properties and its calculated cost price indicate that it can compete with traditional fossil-based products on price and performance when produced at scale. PEF is plant-based and also completely recyclable, thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The total funding need of Avantium for the FDCA flagship plant is around EUR 150 million, as indicated at the Technology & Markets Day of Avantium in June 2019. Avantium intends to have this funding in place before the end of 2020.

The EUR 25 million PEFerence grant for the establishment of an innovative value chain for FDCA is instrumental in securing the overall financing for the flagship plant and the market introduction of FDCA and PEF. It represents a significant step to cover the funding requirement for the flagship plant for FDCA and we are fully on track towards a planned start-up of the flagship plant in 2023, commented Marcel Lubben, Managing Director of Avantium Renewable Polymers.

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