Avantium named European cleantech company of the decade

Avantium (The Netherlands)  among the leading technology companies known for its collaborations with iconic market players such as The Coca-Cola Company and Danone, was named by Cleantech Group (CTG), as European Cleantech Company of the Decade.

Avantium is specialized in the area of advanced high-throughput R&D. The company develops and commercializes YXY — the brand name for its cost competitive technology platform to catalytically convert plant based materials into biobased chemicals and bioplastics like Polyethylene furanoate (PEF) . PEF is a novel 100% biobased polyester with enhanced barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over existing packaging materials.

These properties enable new packaging innovations to make lighter, thinner, smaller and stronger bottles, to extend product shelf life and to provide supply chain benefits. Combined with the significant reduction in carbon footprint, PEF fulfils key criteria to become the next generation biobased plastic for bottles, film and fibers. Together with The Coca-Cola Company (USA), Danone (France)  and  ALPLA Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH (Germany), Avantium work on the commercialization of the next generation plastic bottles.

Avantium’s business unit Catalysis offers solutions ranging from sophisticated R&D systems and services to fully integrated long-term collaborative partnerships. The partnership Avantium has been able to assemble with the three companies mentioned above is powerful and expected to bear fully commercial fruit and with the first PEF 100% biobased and biodegradable bottles in 2016.

This is yet another example of the fastest path to market for bioplastics molecule developers: a full synergy with converters and end-users from the start and a commonality of purpose and desire to succeed rapidly. Capability of multinational companies to overcome the differences in cultures obviously plays a role.

“Making PEF the next generation plastic is our goal: a 100% biobased plastic with enhanced performance over existing packaging materials at competitive costs. It is a long and challenging road to the top, but we are enjoying it and we are certain that we will get there. It is an honor to be selected by the Cleantech Group as European Cleantech Company of the decade. It makes us realize again how unique and immense the development and commercialization of PEF is. We have created a strong market pull through our partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA for the development of PEF bottles for water, soft drinks, food and personal care. This year our focus will be on commercializing PEF: by the engineering & design of our first commercial plant,” said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium.

This one-off award was made in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Cleantech Forum Europe, held in Stockholm this year. The award was made in Stockholm’s City Hall, the venue of the annual Nobel Prize ceremony. CTG helps clients accelerate sustainable innovation. The company’s i3 market intelligence platform, which tracks over $7 billion of deal flow annually across 23,000+ cleantech companies, allows subscribers to find, vet, and connect with entrepreneurs — efficiently building an innovation pipeline. Cleantech Forums bring the i3 platform to life by convening thought leaders and innovators around diverse themes in innovation.

“To identify the best five European cleantech companies of the decade would be an impossible task. After all, how can you meaningfully compare, say, a profitable ESCO with a pre-revenue bio-materials developer?” said Sheeraz Haji, CEO, CTG. “Instead, we set out to select private companies that got started and have achieved impressive results in the timeframe since we first conceived of a Cleantech Forum Europe. We sought companies whose stories are illustrative of the collective journey we have all been on, and whose promise for 2014 and beyond is exciting and speaks to the sustainable innovation opportunities in front of us.”

Avantium was picked because it has been the only European company to have been in the top 10 European companies within the Global Cleantech 100 for the past four years,” explained Richard Youngman, Managing Director Europe & Asia, CTG. “It represents the exciting promise of renewable chemicals, as well as the challenge of building capital-intensive companies.”

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