Synvina in a few bullet points
- Synvina is a joint venture between BASF and Avantium
- HQ are in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- Synvina’s Goals
- producing and marketing of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA)
- marketing polyethylenefuranoate (PEF).
- PATRICK SCHIFFERS is CEO of Synvina (2018)
- Avantium input:
- YXY® technology process,
- application development expertise,
- a pilot plant
- partner relationships.
- BASF input:
- engineering capabilities
- large-scale production,
- a worldwide sales network
- market development experience.
2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) can be used as a replacement for terephthalic acid (TA), a petroleum-based monomer primarily used to produce PET.
PEF is a polyester based on FDCA and monoethylene glycol (MEG). The polymerization process used to make PEF has already been successfully initiated at pilot plant scale. From this pilot plant, we have delivered PEF to our partners, where we are currently developing and evaluating applications. The FDCA monomer offers exciting opportunities to create a wide range of polymers. These include polyesters, polyamides and polyurethanes as well as coating resins, plasticizers and other chemical products. Find out more about potential applications.
Synvina’s main polymer, PEF (polyethylenefuranoate), is a 100% bio-based and recyclable polymer that can be applied in the form of bottles and films to a broad range of applications, including the packaging of soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, food and non-food products. PEF’s barrier and thermal properties are superior to conventional PET. It shows improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to a longer shelf life of packaged products. It also offers higher mechanical strength, which means that thinner PEF packaging can be produced and fewer resources are required. In combination with the bio-based feedstock, that added functionality gives PEF all the attributes required to become the next-generation polyester. In the near future, PEF has the potential to become the material of choice for beverage bottles and other packaging applications.
Alongside its environmental benefits, the polymer PEF offers increased performance in comparison with PET and other packaging materials, such as fossil-based plastics, aluminum or glass. These benefits mean that PEF is viable for a range of additional applications that have so far been beyond the reach of PET.
Synvina produces FDCA at its pilot plant in Geleen, The Netherlands, using the YXY® process developed by Avantium and based on fructose as a renewable raw material. Synvina is currently polymerizing FDCA to PEF externally at our partners’ facilities.
YXY TECHNOLOGY FOR BIO-BASED PACKAGING
The YXY technology platform helps us produce a wide range of novel 100% bio-based materials and products by converting plant-based sugars into chemical building blocks. The most prominent example is furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) for the production of polymers for the packaging industry. However, there is a wide range of other applications, such as fibers, other polymers like polyamides or other polyesters.
RECYCLING PEF BOTTLES
Synvina has demonstrated that PEF can be recycled using the same processing steps as PET. Synvina supports the creation of a PEF recycling stream as early as possible, but the initial launch quantity of 50,000 tons per year is not expected to reach the critical mass needed for recycling in all areas of the world. Therefore, Synvina foresees the following stages:
STAGE I – PEF in rPET stream
During the transition period following the launch of PEF bottles, the amount of PEF as a proportion of the total PET stream will be relatively small. PEF bottles disposed in the PET recycling stream (recycled PET, rPET) can easily be sorted out if desired but can also be left in at certain concentrations. The outcome of preliminary tests show that PEF has very limited material effect on the transparency and mechanical properties of rPET, such as strength and impact resistance. We are currently working with brand owners and the recycling industry to further integrate PEF with PET recycling activities.
STAGE II – PEF to PEF recycling
Once PEF is being produced in larger volumes, it is likely that it may become more economically attractive to recycle PEF separately. The potential of PEF recycling using existing PET recycling equipment may provide opportunities for PET recyclers to grow their business, and allow the creation of a separate stream sooner than many other polymers. We are currently working with brand owners and the recycling industry to assess the economic prerequisites for establishing a PEF to PEF recycling infrastructure.