Synvina was the joint venture between Avantium and BASF. BASF played the runaway bride by leaving the ship earlier this year. Synvina was meant to be a leading player in the production of FDCA and PEF with their YXY Technology.
Synvina was also supposed to build a plant in Antwerpen (Belgium) but even this is being questioned. Avantium will build the plant in north West Europe but probably not in Antwerpen. This is a big loss for Belgium.
Why did BASF leave the ship? Here are some hypothesis we came up with:
- The new CEO of BASF, Martin Brudermüller (aka Schwarzenegger), doesn’t believe in renewable and bio-based chemistry. He’s a hardcore chemist. He called his dog Mendeleev; and his cat Curie (and we’re not talking about the indian dish here). One of the first project he started was launching chemical recycling at BASF. Chemical recycling is referred to as the “devil’s cauldron” by the bio-based industry. Once you start a chemical recycling plant, it’s like Godzilla or an oven in hell…it can’t be stopped.
- BASF doesn’t believe YXY technology will have a reasonable ROI. Why? They need to have the soft drink or water industry on their side to replace PET with PEF. In other words, they need to have Coca-Cola or Pepsi on board. Historically, Coca-Cola is divided between two groups “the commercial operations” (marketing, brand, formula) vs “the bottlers”. Impossible that a bystander gets into this love hate relationship. Pepsi doesn’t have enough market share in Europe to start this project alone, they need collaboration from other companies such as Nestle, Danone and Unilever. Try to get the Swiss, French and Dutch aligned. The Americans may as well go solo and stick to PET for the time being.
- The YXY technology is obsolete: the Swiss improved the technology making YXY look like a grandmother on a Solex bike powered by coal.
- The Dutch have no idea how to market things in the rest of Europe. Dutch are experts in taking decisions, but they don’t always get it right. They’re open to new things and are not afraid of change but they go cheap. The day Avantium’s senior management had to meet with Arnold (Martin Brudermüller), they came with their caravan. Arnold thought it was the Gipsy Kings setting up a camp on his parking. More seriously, he doubted the dutch would be able to conquer Europe.
- Arnold realised YXY was a scam intended to get EU funds. The Dutch never intended to produce anything. Ze Germans didn’t want to become what ze French call “le dindon de la farce“, the fall guy, the patsy, the … Lee Harvey Oswald of the Bioplastics industry.
Please note that this was meant as a joke. We don’t know the real reasons why BASF left the joint venture. We just wanted to make you laugh.
Avantium and BASF are great companies. What would chemistry look like without BASF? We need Avantium to succeed to prove everyone wrong. We need Avantium to disrupt the industry like NatureWorks did 20 years ago.
Avantium (aka The Dutch) will get over the split like they always do. They’re a strong nation. They’ll take the hit, fall but at some point stand up and succeed.
Go Avantium and show the world how great the Dutch are….
- Avantium Moving Forward on Bio-based Plastics Plant
- Avantium Will Build Demonstration Plant for Third Technology Program
- The Brain Behind Avantium’s YXY Gechnology
- The Bioplastic Flop of the Year: Synvina
- BASF and Avantium form Synvina, a biobased chemicals JV
- PEF to be integrated in European PET recycling