For years, major global agribusiness companies have been partnering with chemical companies strategically engaged into changing their business models to sustainable plant based chemistry. Examples over the years include:
- Cargill (USA) invested in Naturework along with successively Dow Chemicals (USA) then Teijin (Japan) and now PTT Global Chemical (Thailand);
- Archer Daniels Midland (USA) and its former partnership with Metabolix (USA) and more recent investment in Rennovia (USA) for adipic acid and glucaric acid ;
- Wilmar (Singapore), with Elevance for long chain diacids from plant oil;
- Bunge (USA) with Solazyme (USA) for renewable oils from algae in the US; Solazymes had also a 3 year JV with Roquette (France) aborted in 2013 ;
- Roquette (France) with DSM (NL) into Reverdia (Italy) for succinic acid;
- Corbion- Purac (NL) with BASF (Germany) into Succinity (Spain) for succinic acid;
- Cristal Union (France) with Global Bioenergies (France) for bio-isobutene.
The last one of its kind is rumored to be sugar producer Tereos (France) partnering with Avantium (NL) for producing bioplastics namely polyethylene furanoate (PEF) made from 2,5 furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) at Tereos’ site in Lillebonne, France, built in 2007 to produce first generation bio-ethanol.
Tereos did confirm on recent presentation of its annual 2014/2015 results that it signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Avantium. Avantium said a formal announcement will be released soon.
Avantium has developed a proprietary 2-step chemical, catalytic process to produce FDCA from sugars called the ‘YXY’ process. The FDCA will be combined with bio-based MEG to produce PEF, an alternative to PET with enhanced oxygen barrier properties.
Avantium has a FDCA pilot plant in the Netherlands with a nameplate capacity of around 40 tons/year for application and process development. The company’s initial commercial milestone plan was to bring production of around 30-50,000 tons per annum by 2018 with the necessary capital expenditures fuelled by industrial partners like Coca Cola, Danone and Alpla, teaming up with venture capital shareholders.
Separate posts of this blog give more information about:
Avantium’s partnership with Tereos could bring Coca-Cola’s and Danone commercial plans into fruition.
Tereos has been busy with other partnerships, such as its collaboration with tire manufacturer, Michelin (France) for the development of bio-butadiene with Tereos looking to ensure long-term supply of biomass-based sugars.
Tereos claims to be the world’s 3rd largest sugar producer specializing in the processing of sugar beets, sugarcane and cereal grains in Europe and Brazil. Tereos is also a leading producer of starch-based alcohols and ethanol.