Avantium confirms location of FDCA plant

The Avantium Renewable Polymers subsidiary of Dutch technology firm Avantium has signed a letter of intent to locate its flagship plant at Chemie Park Delfzijl in the Netherlands.

The 5,000-tonne facility will produce plant-based FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid), which is a key building block for many chemicals and plastics such as PEF (polyethylene furanoate).

Avantium Renewable Polymers has also entered into a letter of intent with a Regional Consortium relating to the financing of the FDCA flagship plant and associated costs, for an amount of €30 million ($33m), over the period to the plant’s completion in 2023.

Avantium believes that the new plant will be an important step in helping transition the chemicals industry away from fossil resources and towards sustainable feedstocks. The FDCA plant will be located near Avantium’s demonstration plant for plant-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), and its pilot biorefinery, producing glucose and lignin from non-food biomass.

“Avantium and Groningen share an ambition to support the transition to a circular economy,” said Nienke Homan, regional minister of the Province of Groningen. “Along with the increased innovation the flagship plant will bring to the region, the Avantium plant will create over 60 highly skilled jobs and provides significant indirect employment opportunities. Avantium’s decision to build its plant at Delfzijl is a testament to the strong ecosystem that the region provides for green chemistry.”

“Groningen Seaports offers us an excellent location with the right infrastructure,” added Avantium’s chief executive Tom van Aken. “The Province of Groningen is at the forefront of green chemistry development and has an exceptional reputation in investing in technologies for a sustainable future.”

He added that Avantium is on track to attract the funding required for the FDCA flagship plant, which it aims to have in place before the end of 2020. “We are now focused on progressing our discussions with potential strategic partners,” he explained.

In November 2019, the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), an EU body, reconfirmed the award to the PEFerence consortium, coordinated by Avantium Renewable Polymers, of a €25m ($27m) “PEFerence” Horizon 2020 grant. This grant supports the establishment of an innovative value chain for the use of plant-based FDCA and PEF.