Products & applications

An impressive range of products

In the Furanics family our main building block for producing biobased products, 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) can be applied to a wide variety of industrial plastics, including bottles, textiles, food packaging, carpets, electronic materials and automotive applications. In the Levulincs family Levulinic Acid and it’s ester Methyl Levulinate are the central biobased building blocks for applications in cosmetics, solvents, polycarbonates, herbicides and fuels.

FDCA

From Plant Based materials to FDCA and PEF

YXY’s main building block, 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid FDCA, can be used as a replacement for terephthalic acid (TA), a petroleum-based monomer that is primarily used to produce PET. Because of the enormous potential of Furanics-based materials the chemical conversion of plant-based carbohydrates into FDCA has been a hot topic of intensive R&D efforts for decades. Applying Avantium’s expertise in advanced catalyst development, catalytic process technology and high-throughput evaluation, Avantium is the first company to find an economically viable route to unlocking the Furanics’ full potential.

FDCA polymerization

The FDCA monomer offers exciting opportunities to create a wide range of polymers– polyesters, polyamides and polyurethanes – as well as coating resins, plasticizers and other chemical products. Read more about the applications.
Our lead application PEF, used to create bottles, films and fibers, is itself a polyester-based on FDCA and MEG (ethylene-glycol). The polymerization process to make PEF has already been successfully initiated at pilot plant scale. Avantium is currently evaluating the process of Furanics-based polyamides with several of our partners.

The next generation polyester

PEF is a next-generation polyester that offers superior barrier and thermal properties, making it ideal material for the packaging of soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, food and non-food products. Therefore PEF is the 100% biobased alternative to PET. Currently, Avantium is working in collaboration with our partners The Coca Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA to bring 100% biobased PEF bottles to the market.

Market potential FDCA

But FDCA is more than PEF alone, and can be applied as chemical building block in a wide variety of industrial applications. In this graph we show FDCA’s enormous market potential.

PEF-bottles-Transparent-PEF-bottle_YXY2PEF Bottles

Avantium has focused its efforts on the polyester polyethylene-furanoate (PEF), which is an analogue of polyethylene-terephthalate (PET). PEF could replace PET in typical applications like films, fibers and in particular bottles for the packaging of soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices food and non-food products.

A renewable packaging footprint

Avantium has entered into joint development agreements with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) ,Danone and ALP
LA to further develop and commercialize PEF bottles. These three companies have a proven leadership position in the area of sustainability and the use of renewable packaging materials. By light-weighting their PET bottles, a strong reduction of the carbon footprint of their supply chains can be obtained (in the last eight years the average weight of a 16-ounce PET bottle has been reduced by 30%). Today, TCCC and Danone are industry leaders in adopting plant based materials for their beverage packaging. TCCC introduced the partially biobased bottle back in November 2009 under the brand name PlantBottle™ for its Coca-Cola and Dasani brands, replacing fossil based MEG by plant based MEG. Also applying plant based MEG, Danone introduced a partially plant based bottle for its Volvic water brand in 2010, called Greener Bottle, or Bouteille Végétale. ALPLA is a leading company in PET conversion, making PET bottle packaging for leading brand owners like Unilever, P&G and the Coca-Cola Company. ALPLA has applied biobased MEG in its PET packaging, and will now introduce PEF to customers in the food, home care/personal care and alcoholic beverages industry.

Superior functional properties

Avantium’s research has proven that PEF bottles outperform PET bottles in many areas, particularly barrier properties (the ability of the polymer to withstand gas permeability through the bottle). PEF’s ability to seal out oxygen, for example, results in longer-lasting carbonated drinks and extended shelf life. Moreover, PEF makes certain packaging coatings redundant, like the coatings used on bottles to keep beer fresh. In terms of thermal properties, PEF is widely considered more attractive than PET due to its superior ability to withstand heat (expressed in the glass transition temperature or Tg) and process-ability at lower temperatures (expressed in the melting temperature or Tm).

Superior barrier properties:

  • PEF oxygen barrier is 10 times better than PET
  • PEF carbon dioxide barrier is 4 times better than PET
  • PEF water barrier is 2 times better than PET

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

Recycling PEF bottles

Avantium has demonstrated that PEF can be recycled in very similar ways to PET recycling.

Stage I: PEF in rPET stream

In the transition period following the launch of PEF bottles, the amount of PEF in the total PET stream is relatively small. PEF bottles are likely to be recycled in the PET recycling stream (rPET). The outcome of preliminary tests (using ASTM test protocols) shows that PEF has no material effect on the mechanical and physical properties of PET, such as strength and impact. Avantium is currently working with brand owners and the recycling industry to further integrate PEF into the PET’s recycling stream.

Stage II: PEF to PEF recycling

Once PEF is produced in larger volumes it is likely it may become economically more attractive to separately recycle PEF. Avantium is currently working with brand owners and the recycling industry to establish a PEF to PEF recycling infrastructure in the future.

Applications

PEF: game-changing plastic

Avantium’s lead application, PEF (polyethylene-furanoate), is a 100% biobased and recyclable polymer that can be applied to an enormous range of applications, including packaging of soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices food en non-food products. PEF’s barrier and thermal properties are superior to conventional PET. In combination with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, the added functionality, gives PEF all the attributes to become the next generation polyester. In the near future PEF is positioned to become the material of choice for beverage bottles and other polyester applications.

Recyclable and renewable

PEF is made from plant-based sugars, which means it is renewable: PEF doesn’t rely on carbon derived from fossil feedstock but is made from plants that convert CO2 from the atmosphere into carbohydrates by using solar energy (photosynthesis).
Avantium is closely collaborating with the recycling community to find the optimum end-of-life solutions for PEF. Technical data demonstrates PEF to PEF recycling will be feasible. During a transition period PEF will be mixed in the recycled PET stream. Experiments to determine the compatibility of PEF with PET recycling show PEF has no impact on mechanical and physical properties of PET. Leading brand owners, such as Coca-Cola and Danone, have publicly expressed their strategy to pursue 100% renewable and 100% recyclable materials.

PEF Films

filmsThanks to its superior barrier properties, PEF film has the potential to significantly impact the flexible packaging materials market. With a high gas barrier and excellent ability to contain odors, PEF film can be used to create thermoformed trays and cups for food and beverages, integrated into multilayer structures to create more flexible packaging for food and snacks, or be applied as a barrier layer to upgrade current barrier technologies.

films_2From fresh babyfood pouches and medical fluid bags to transparent wrappers for dried food, Avantium is dedicated to exploring the enormous potential of PEF film.

PEF Fibers

fibers_2PEF fiber has the potential to become a material to be used in a large range of applications – from sports apparel to carpets. Today, PET is used widely in apparel, carpets, home furnishing, disposables, fabrics, diapers, filters and industrial fibers. Avantium is currently working with industry leaders to explore the enormous future potential of PEF fibers.fibers

Avantium is currently working with industry leaders to explore the enormous future potential of PEF fibers.

 

 

Biofuels

In 2006 and 2007 Avantium began seriously pursuing the development of Furanics biofuels and biofuels components. We successfully conducted a range of engine tests using blends of diesel and Furanics (in different ratios), as well as blends of gasoline and Furanics.

FDCA-based polyamides

In addition to polyesters, Avantium is currently developing polyamide materials that incorporate FDCA. Polyamides are a group of polymers with superior performance in strength and durability. These polymers can be applied as nylons in carpets, textiles and sportswear, and in engineering plastics applied in the automotive industry, household goods and electronics applications. Polyamides are characterized by a peptide bond, created by a condensation reaction between an amino group and a carboxylic acid group, like occurring in FDCA.

Levulinics

Within the YXY technology platform Avantium has developed another family of building blocks: Levulinics. Methyl Levulinate (ML) can be produced cost effectively in FDCA assets in tunable volumes ranging from ktons~10s ktons for a commercial FDCA plant. ML is a building block for numerous biobased applications.

  • Cosmetics: Levulinate salts: a key component of cosmetics and food preservatives
  • Solvents: 2-MTHF: a sustainable solvent with superior selectivity and yield to THF, and biofuel component
  • Polycarbonates: Diphenolic Acid: a non-toxic replacement of Bisphenol-A, as monomer for polycarbonates
  • Fragrances and plasticizers: Valeric Acid: Drop in replacement of Valeric Acid a chemical intermediate for cosmetics, fragrances, aromas, pharmaceutics and Lubricants
  • Agrochemicals: DALA: natural compound in plants can be used as herbicide and photosensitizing agent in medical treatments