Imagine a circular plant-based plastic with high performance properties and endless possibilities for application.
Our YXY Technology catalytically converts plant-based sugar (fructose) into a wide range of plant-based chemicals and plastics, such as polyethylene furanoate (PEF). PEF is a 100% plant-based, 100% recyclable plastic with superior performance properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based packaging materials.
PEF & FDCA
PEF is a 100% plant-based and recyclable polymer with wide range of applications – packaging, textiles, film, and many more. It shows improved barrier properties for 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 plant-based feedstock, that added functionality gives PEF all the attributes required to become the next-generation polyester, superior to the conventional PET.
Superior barrier properties:
- PEF’s oxygen barrier is 10 times better than PET
- PEF’s carbon dioxide barrier is 6 to 10 times better than PET
- PEF’s water barrier is twice as good as PET’s
More attractive thermal properties:
- The Tg of PEF is 86°C compared to the Tg of PET of 74°C
- The Tm of PEF is 235°C compared to the Tm of PET of 265°C
(Tg – glass transition temperature)
(Tm – melting point)
The main building block for PEF is furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). Given the huge potential of FDCA, industrial production of this building block has been pursued and researched for over 100 years, without success. As such, FDCA has been called ‘the sleeping giant’. Avantium believes that its YXY Technology can finally unlock the full potential of FDCA. 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.
Applications and Markets
From baby food pouches and medical fluid bags to transparent wrappers for dried food, Avantium Renewable Polymers is constantly exploring the enormous potential of PEF film. Thanks to its superior barrier properties, PEF film has the potential to have a significant impact on the flexible packaging materials market.
PEF has the potential to replace various packaging materials such as PET, glass or aluminum in typical applications like bottles for soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages and fruit juices. PEF provides improved barrier properties for carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to a longer shelf life of packaged products. The ability to keep out oxygen, for example, results in longer-lasting carbonated drinks and extended shelf life.
We are currently working with industry leaders to explore the future potential of PEF fibers in mainly high-value industrial fibers.
Avantium’s PEF is a 100% plant-based, 100% recyclable plastic with superior performance properties compared to today’s widely used petroleum-based packaging materials. PEF is designed for recycling and reusing and therefore it fits perfectly in a circular economy. PEF has a proven fit with existing sorting and recycling facilities. Recycling for PEF is very similar to PET recycling and trials have shown that the existing recycling systems are compatible to PEF, so no systems need to be developed. In addition PEF can easily be distinguished and sorted from PET and other plastics using optical sorting systems used today.
If human behavior results in unplanned and undesired leakage of PEF into our environment, first results of tests by Organic Waste Systems (OWS) (Gent, Belgium) show that PEF degrades much faster than PET under industrial composting conditions (250-400 days with air/oxygen @ 58°C in soil). The biodegradability of PEF under ambient conditions is under investigation (10-year field trial).
From pilot plant to flagship plant
Avantium has successfully demonstrated its YXY Technology at its pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. We are now ready for scaling up to a flagship plant, which is slated to start-up in 2023.