€25M granted to “PEFerence” the Synvina-led European consortium for PEF

In the Netherlands, a BBI subsidy of €25 million has been granted to “PEFerence,” a consortium consisting of 11 companies including Synvina, its two JV partners Avantium (The Netherland) and BASF(Germany), Tereos Participations (France), Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co Kg (Austria), OMV Machinery Srl (Italy), Croda Nederland B.V.(The Netherlands), Nestec Sa (Switzerland) Lego System As (Denmark), Nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH (Germany) and Spinverse Innovation Management Oy (Finland).

The partners will jointly work on establishing an innovative supply chain for FDCA and PEF, including the planned construction of a 50,000 ton reference plant in Antwerp. Synvina will be coordinating the “PEFerence” project.

The European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI) is a public-private partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium aiming at increasing investment in the development of a sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe. It aims at providing environmental and socio-economic benefits for European citizens, increasing the competitiveness of Europe and contributing to establishing Europe as a key player in research, demonstration and deployment of advanced bio-based products and biofuels. The BBI Joint Undertaking will also play an important role in fostering the emergence of new ventures within the bio-economy sector in the EU.

Synvina is a Joint Venture of Avantium and BASF, located in Amsterdam. Operating a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands, Synvina produces and markets furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) from renewable resources on pilot plant scale and markets the new polymer polyethylenefuranoate (PEF). The Synvina JV plans to invest a medium three-digit million Euro sum to build a reference plant with an annual capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons per year at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, and to license the technology for industrial scale production. Synvina will use the YXY process developed by Avantium for the production of FDCA.

FDCA is the essential chemical building block for the production of PEF. Compared with conventional plastics, PEF is characterized by improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen. This can lead to longer shelf life of packaged products. Due to its higher mechanical strength, thinner PEF packaging can be produced, thus a lower amount of packaging material is necessary. Therefore PEF is particularly suitable for the production of certain food and beverage packaging, for example films and plastic bottles. After use, PEF can be recycled

Synvina is continuing Avantium’s established partnering activities with leading brands associated with FDCA and PEF. The goal of the cooperation platform is to develop a complete supply chain for PEF as sustainable bio-based packaging material. Together with Toyobo, the companies will jointly boost the PEF polymerization and further develop PEF films for food packaging, in electronics applications such as displays or solar panels, industrial and medical packages. With Mitsui, Synvina will work on developing PEF thin films and PEF bottles in Japan. Furthermore, Synvina aims to continue the development partnerships with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA and other companies on the Joint Development Platform for PEF bottles.

“The grant of the BBI is a strong signal for Synvina and our partners along the value chain to continue our mutual process to make PEF commercially available”, said Patrick Schiffers, CEO of Synvina. He added: “To open up a market for a new plastic based on renewable feedstock is a major challenge that we best meet with strong partners and our combined expertise. We share the common goal to get PEF commercially to the market thereby providing the market materials with superior properties and to establish sustainable and bio-based plastic value chains.”

Avantium recently appointed Zanna McFerson as its Chief Business Development Officer. McFerson is the former Chief Business officer at Amyris and, before that, she was a Vice-President at Cargill, where she led the successful introduction of the natural sweetener Truvia™ in the US, Latin America and Europe.