Avantium pilot plant 'to be operational in first quarter of 2011'

01 December 2010 15:10  [Source: ICIS news]

DUSSELDORF, Germany (ICIS)--Avantium’s 20-40 tonne/year furanics pilot plant at its Chemelot site, at Geleen in the Netherlands, is set to become operational in the first quarter of 2011, an executive from the Dutch biotechnology company said on Wednesday.

Dirk den Ouden, the director of Avantium’s new business development, was speaking at the 5th European Bioplastics Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

He said the pilot plant, which uses catalytic technology to convert biomass into furanics under the brand name YXY, could help produce durable plastics and green fuels that were price competitive with products made from oil.

“In parallel we have proven that you can make materials on [the] basis of our technology that have excellent performance characteristics,” he added.

The venture capital-backed company expected to use its technology in the production of green and recyclable materials such as drink bottles, carpets, textiles, high-performance fibres, coatings and plasticisers.

Avantium was raising additional private funding to further accelerate the commercialisation of its technology and to run the pilot plant, which has been partly funded by a €1m ($1.3m) grant from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, den Ouden said.

“We look for industrial partners in the polymer, chemicals, materials and fuels sectors to support our development of YXY-based materials and fuels,” he added.

Following the success of its pilot plant, the group has forecast it will have a semi-works plant with a capacity of 200-400 tonnes/year on stream by 2013, and its first industrial plant, with a 30,000-40,000 tonne/year capacity, on stream by 2015.

Avantium, which develops and commercialises bio-based fuels and plastics, was founded in 2000 as a spin-off from Shell.

Furanics is a green and sustainable process for bioplastic and biofuel production.

The 5th European Bioplastics Conference is being held on 1-2 December.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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