No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and application of wise thought that counts. Bob Proctor - Author-Speaker

BioBTX is like Sjakie's Chocolate Factory of the circular economy

BioBTX could be called the Sjakie's Chocolate Factory of the circular economy. Exaggerated? Of course, but the metaphor does give direction to what the chemical pilot plant is capable of: waste plastics of the most recalcitrant kind are broken down there and the building blocks produced by that process are used to make sustainable PET bottles and sustainable super fibers, among other things.

It is an oh so effective process. Because what is all too often overlooked as an advantage: until now we could not do anything with that waste plastic except burn it. And because this plastic, thanks to BioBTX, no longer goes into the oven, but is converted into new aromatics or BTX (a combination of benzene, toluene and xylene), a strong reduction of CO2 is realized.

CEO Pieter Imhof beams as he tells it all. The story of BioBTX sounds like a fairy tale but it is as factual as can be. It is a new and necessary reality - after all, everything must be green and sustainable - that is being created. For the scale-up BioBTX, it is now still experimenting in a pilot plant on the Groningen Campus, but from 2023 the serious work will begin in a mature plant. Where that will be is not yet a done deal. Imhof: "The factory can land anywhere. Delfzijl is in the picture with us, but it's about the big picture. Supply and disposal play a role, finances, partners, personnel, you name it.'

All the big companies want to get circularity right. Therefore, they help us, they are often interested.
Pieter Imhof, CEO BioBTX

BioBTX is like Sjakie's Chocolate Factory of the circular economy

Imhof is now primarily concerned with both the new plant and the applications for the technology used by BioBTX. 'There is a lot of material available to us worldwide,' says Imhof. 'Huge amounts of plastic are dumped or incinerated. We mainly focus on plastics that are difficult to recycle such as plastic mixtures that cannot be separated, multilayer materials such as potato chip bags and the blades of wind turbines.'

Imhof knows the ropes like no other. He is an expert by experience because, as a chemist, he also built up expertise in strategy and marketing and sales at technology manager Avantium. BioBTX is flying into the future on a broad runway and is working with Teijin, among others, which uses BTX as a raw material for the super fiber Twaron and wants to provide this fiber with a sustainable label.
label. Imhof: "We have the whole chain in view, we work together with many more major parties. But not everyone wants to be named yet.'

Whereas BioBTX provides building blocks for chemistry, alliances of this kind with large parties are the building blocks for eventually a factory. Imhof: "All the big companies want to get circularity right. That's why they help us, they are often interested. Soft drink brands don't make the bottles themselves, but if the supplier of a well-known brand shouts 'I want to have those bottles where BioBTX plays a role', it all goes faster.

Pieter Imhof points out that it's not just about building that one plant. It is much more about proving the BioBTX technology, which heats the plastics, captures the gases from the plastics and produces a combination of benzene, toluene and xylene from them. "It is the intention to build several plants in the future or to sell the technology through licenses," Imhof said. It is also possible to integrate other technologies.

BioBTX's technology is highly regarded worldwide. In a global Sustainability Challenge, the northern initiative was among the top five when it comes to innovative packaging. It reinforces BioBTX's promise. Pieter Imhof: "This year we are going to make big steps. We are still working with a small group. We therefore need to focus and in doing so we have made the conscious choice for waste plastics.' And with a telling smile: 'You have to focus, but you also have to do everything.'

BioBTX is like Sjakie's Chocolate Factory of the circular economy

Five parties

Five parties (Carduso Capital, Lynnovation, Vries Beheer, NOM and Growth Fund of Economic Board Groningen) decided on a new investment round for BioBTX. Jens Ruesink, Investment Manager of the NOM: 'This money is primarily intended to commercialize technology to make BTX (combination of benzene, toluene and xylene) from waste plastic. BioBTX has been working in a pilot plant for some time with mainly other waste materials, such as glycerine, a byproduct from biodiesel production.

That experience lowers the risk profile. A new route is being developed with waste plastics and with that comes new risks. It is already successful at the lab scale, we know that it should be possible on a larger scale, but because it is a new process, we must learn to control that process. If we succeed, it will be easier to find co-investors. And we will immediately have a good foundation for the next phase, building a factory.'

NOM Mockup Whitepaper Innovative Idea
From innovative idea to commercial product

In this white paper you will learn:

  • What the innovation process looks like and what challenges you face along the way
  • What opportunities there are to fund this early stage of your idea/product
  • In what ways NOM as an investor can help you

    Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.