Avantium completes start-up of pilot plant

At the Chemelot site in Geleen, the Netherlands, technology firm Avantium has completed start-up at its polyester pilot plant, which is the first stage of a pilot facility that will demonstrate the company's YXY technology for the production of green fuels and materials.

The plant is on schedule to begin operations in Q2 2011.

The company's patented YXY technology is a 'family of green building blocks for making materials and fuels that can compete on price and performance', which converts biomass into furanics. The use of carbohydrates as a feedstock enables the production of both green and sustainable products. The technology, which is based on Avantium's catalytic technology, is fast and cost-effective and can be implemented in existing chemical production assets.

This step forward is a significant one for Avantium as the second generation biobased polyester will compete with oil-based polyesters such as PET. The firm has already demonstrated a number of advantages of using PEF over PET, including barrier properties (oxygen, carbon dioxide and water) and its ability to withstand heat.

Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium, says: 'The start-up of our polyester pilot plant is another milestone of our development of our YXY technology for biobased materials. We have successfully produced the first batches of our biopolymer PEF in the pilot plant.'

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