Towards second-generation feedstocks

Building blocks, coming from YXY technology, originate today from commercially available biobased feedstock, such as first generation sugar & starch crops. The large variety of feedstock used offers us maximum flexibility in our sourcing. All feedstock for YXY adhere to the SARA principle:

  • sustainable production;
  • available at the production site;
  • reliable logistics;
  • affordable.

Avantium is already developing processes based on feedstock from second-generation non-food crops to ensure that our technology is fully compatible to these new feedstock.

YXY process technology

To successfully enter large markets like plastic bottles, textile, packaging, solvents and cosmetics, Avantium needs to ensure its biobased building blocks can be produced in a cost-competitive manner. From the very start we set ourselves the goal to develop the YXY process to be economically competitive to conventional fossil resource based products.

YXY Chemistry

Avantium’s YXY technology can convert carbohydrates into a number of different biobased products and fuels. The YXY process consists of two catalytic steps.

Step 1: The catalytic dehydration of the carbohydrate feedstock in an alcohol, such as methanol, to make Alkoxymethyl-Furfural (RMF), such as methoxymethyl furfural (MMF) and Levulinics like Methyl Levulinate.

Step 2: The catalytic oxidation of RMF in acetic acid to make FuranDiCarboxylicAcid (FDCA).

To make the biobased polymer PEF, a third catalytic step brings together FDCA and Mono-Ethylene-Glycol (MEG).

Environmental impact

The YXY technology has the potential to reduce CO2-emissions and Non-Renewable Energy Use compared to fossil-based materials used today. To assess the environmental footprint of YXY technology, the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, an independent organization specialized in making Life-Cycle-Analysis (LCA), has performed a LCA study in 2012, comparing the YXY technology for making biobased PEF to conventional petroleum-based production of PET. The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development performed a cradle-to-grave assessment of non-renewable energy usage and carbon emissions. Energy & Environmental Science published an article in 2012 on the same topic, which can be found here. Updated LCA studies will be published before the launch of PEF.


Industrializing YXY

In December 2011 Avantium officially opened its pilot plant at the Chemelot Campus in Geleen, the Netherlands. Designed in conjunction with partners to optimize resources and expertise, the pilot started up successfully and is currently running 24/7. The plant focuses on demonstrating the scale up of our YXY process from the R&D lab and to produce sufficient volumes of Methyl Levulinate, FDCA and PEF for application development by Avantium’s development partners, including The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), Danone and ALPLA.

The next step in scaling our YXY technology is to design, build and operate our first commercial scale manufacturing plant.

YXY movies

Avantium’s YXY technology is much discussed
The employees of Avantium are working daily to optimize the YXY process and to commercialize. For them, terms like barrier properties, FDCA and CO2 footprint are very common. To keep the YXY process understandable to the outside world, Avantium has developed several videos that explain the YXY process and the Avantium vision and strategy. Click in the menu to watch the different videos.