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Partnership announced for Dutch wood to chemicals reference plant

Avantium has announced a partnership with AkzoNobel, Chemport Europe, RWE and Staatsbosbeheer for the development of a reference plant at the Chemie Park Delfzijl. The step marks the next stage of a collaborative effort to determine the feasibility of a wood to chemicals biorefinery in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.

AkzoNobel, Avantium, Chemport Europe, RWE and Staatsbosbeheer have announced a partnership to deploy a biobased technology breakthrough (photo courtesy Avantium).

AkzoNobel, Avantium, Chemport Europe, RWE and Staatsbosbeheer have announced a partnership to deploy a biobased technology breakthrough (photo courtesy Avantium).

Avantium, a Netherlands-based chemical biotechnology development company has announced a partnership with AkzoNobel, Chemport Europe, RWE and Staatsbosbeheer for the development of a reference plant at the Chemie Park Delfzijl. The step marks the next stage of a collaborative effort to determine the feasibility of a wood to chemicals biorefinery in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.

Demo “Zambezi” wood to chemical process

The new reference plant in Delfzijl will be based on a new technology that has been developed by Avantium to produce sugars for the production of chemicals and fuels from non-food materials. The proprietary Zambezi process is a biorefinery technology that, according to Avantium, is highly feedstock-flexible allowing the use of woody biomass such as forestry residues, corn-stover, bagasse, sugarbeet residue and produces a high purity glucose product and lignin for energy and other applications; all in near quantitative yield.

This Zambezi process aims for a cost-effective process for the production of high-purity glucose from non-food biomass required for the production of a wide range of biobased chemicals and materials for the chemical industry. This glucose is suitable for both catalytic and fermentation processes for the production of a new and growing generation of sustainable materials. The lignin is suitable feedstock for renewable bioenergy applications, as its energy content is significantly higher than that of woody biomass.

Strong partnership

Each partner brings their core strength to the project; from feedstock, throughout the supply chain to end products. The main feedstock of the plant will be locally sourced forestry residue coordinated by Staatsbosbeheer, an owner and manager of 265 000 hectares (ha) of forests and national parks across the Netherlands. The planned reference plant builds on the strong synergies of the infrastructure, utilities and expertise of the AkzoNobel site in Delfzijl.

RWE Generation NL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany-headed energy major RWE AG, will supply feedstock and use the lignin residue from the Zambezi process for energy purposes. Chemport Europe, a bio-based chemical and recycling cluster brings strategic support from the Northern Netherlands Region working via a range of initiatives to facilitate the project.

The partnership expects, together with the geographical, technical and logistical benefits of the Delfzijl area, to enable the cost competitive production that will help accelerate the roll out of the biobased economy. The reference plant will be constructed with an expansion-ready footprint enabling rapid increase of capacity after demonstration. Further synergistic partnerships and collaborations are currently under development.

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