Avantium starts up demo plant for bio-based MEG technology?

Dutch biotechnology company Avantium NV has started up a 10-tonne-per-year pilot unit for the production of plant-based MEG (mono-ethylene glycol) in Chemie Park Delfzij, in the northeast of the Netherlands.
The MEG, produced using Avantium’s proprietary and patented Ray Technology, can be used as a key feedstock for the manufacture of polyester (PET) resins, films and fibres.
The unit also produces plant-based MPG (mono-propylene glycol), which is used in products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food flavouring.
The end-to-end production unit covers all the process steps involved in converting industrial sugars to glycols, allowing for the production of MEG and MPG samples that are representative of the final product from subsequent commercial-scale plants, a company statement said 7 Oct. 
The opening of the demonstration plant marks a significant step towards the company’s goal to set up a commercial flagship plant, aimed for start-up in 2024.
“Commercial conversations are already ongoing with partners who see an economic opportunity with Ray Technology,” said Zanna McFerson, managing director of Avantium Renewable Chemistries, comments.
According to Avantium, 99% of MEG produced globally is derived from fossil resources, representing a value of approximately $25bn.
The Dutch company expects the MEG market to grow rapidly in the coming decades, providing a great opportunity for the introduction of plant-based MEG as part of the transition to a more renewable world.
Avantium also maintains that its MEG production technology is cost competitive compared to fossil-based MEG.
“Avantium is proud to be the first company in the world to have brought three technologies to demonstration stage – our YXY Technology, Dawn Technology and now our Ray Technology. It truly demonstrates our ability to scale up and commercialise advanced technologies in the renewable polyester value chain,” said Avantium CEO Tom van Aken.
The Ray Technology demonstration plant is located near Avantium's Dawn Technology pilot biorefinery, which started operation in July 2018 and produces high purity glucose - a building block for many materials including bioplastics.
The company also makes polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), a plant-based alternative to PET, based on its YXY technology at a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.
Avantium announced in March that it had selected the Delfzijl location partly due to a €2m grant by the European Regional Development Fund, facilitated by Partnership Northern Netherlands.

» Publication Date: 07/11/2019

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This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 745828