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Carlsberg Group signs PEF offtake agreement

Carlsberg Group signs PEF offtake agreement
Carlsberg Group is launching a consumer test of the Fibre Bottle using PEF as a barrier (photo courtesy Carlsberg).

The Netherlands-headed Avantium N.V., a leading technology company in renewable chemistry, has announced that Denmark-headed beverage major Carlsberg Group has signed a conditional offtake agreement to secure a fixed volume of the 100 percent plant-based, recyclable, and high-performance polymer polyethylene furanoate (PEF) from Avantium’s FDCA Flagship Plant currently under construction.

Avantium began construction of the world’s first commercial biobased furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) facility at the Chemie Park Delfzijl site in the Netherlands in April this year.

Scheduled for a startup in 2024, Avantium’s FDCA Flagship Plant is set to produce 5 000 tonnes of FDCA per annum.

FDCA is the key building block for the 100 percent plant-based, recyclable plastic material polyethylene furanoate (PEF).

Carlsberg will use the PEF resin for various packaging applications, including its Fibre Bottle – the bio-based and fully recyclable beer bottle.

Consumer trial launched

Carlsberg has also launched a trial of its latest Fibre Bottle, which contains an inner layer of PEF produced in Avantium’s current Pilot Plant.

Carlsberg will sample the Fibre Bottle to 8 000 consumers and other selected stakeholders in eight pilot markets in Western Europe.

We are pleased to expand our partnership with Carlsberg. It is a truly exciting milestone that – for the very first time – consumers can now experience a PEF-lined beer bottle, said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium.

Avantium and Carlsberg have been partners since 2019 as the companies worked together with “Paboco” (Paper Bottle Company) and the Paper Bottle Community.

In its largest trial of the Fibre Bottle to date, Carlsberg has revealed the latest generation design featuring the PEF lining and will sample 8 000 bottles across eight Western European markets throughout the summer.

We are delighted to be bringing our new Fibre Bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves, said Stephane Munch, VP of Group Development at Carlsberg.

The bottles will be introduced to local consumers, customers and other stakeholders at selected festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product sampling.

Making the product accessible and gathering consumer feedback at this scale will be key to informing the next generation of design and accelerating Carlsberg’s ambition to make the Fibre Bottle a commercial reality.

However, this pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance, and recycling of this product at scale. Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges – so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement! Stephane Munch said.

Builds on existing collaboration

Paboco, Avantium and Carlsberg developed the Fibre Bottle, a barrier solution, and a pioneering packaging solution for Carlsberg beer, respectively.

Today, the results are consisting of a wood fibre outer shell and a plant-based and recyclable PEF polymer liner.

Beyond its sustainable packaging benefits, Avantium’s PEF has superior barrier properties, protecting the taste and fizziness of the beer and leading to longer shelf life.

PEF also has higher mechanical strength than conventional plastics, enabling thinner packaging and thereby reducing the amount of material required.

In 2021, Avantium and Carlsberg signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to develop several PEF packaging applications, including the Fibre Bottle.

With the test results of PEF in the Fibre Bottle proving successful, Carlsberg has decided to sign a conditional offtake agreement with Avantium to purchase PEF resin coming from its Flagship Plant for its Fibre Bottle and for the development of other beer packaging applications.

With business partners such as Carlsberg Group, Avantium can further scale and build the PEF value chain, meeting the growing global demand for circular and renewable material solutions. This is what the material transition is about: ensuring that consumers can get access to novel and sustainable products at scale, ended Tom van Aken.

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