Listed company Avantium, a global leader in sustainable chemistry, has announced that the company's first commercial plant will be located in Delfzijl. The plant will produce raw materials for green plastics from industrial sugars. According to Chemport Europe, the arrival of the plant is an important building block for a future-proof and sustainable industry in the region. Moreover, the establishment will create more than 60 high-quality jobs.
The new plant is based on technology developed by Avantium itself. With that technology, the company can convert vegetable raw materials into so-called FDCA, an important raw material for the new green type of plastic PEF. What makes this type of plastic special is that it can be made entirely from plant-based raw materials. PEF is also highly recyclable and of higher quality than conventional PET plastic made from petroleum. With the establishment of this plant, Avantium takes the step from pilot plant to commercial production. This involves an investment of 150 million euros.
"We are very pleased with the arrival of Avantium's first commercial plant in Delfzijl," said Representative Homan of the Province of Groningen. "Not only because of the employment opportunities, but especially because innovative companies like Avantium make an important contribution to making the industry more sustainable. Ultimately, we must move toward a sustainable and circular industrial cluster that is no longer dependent on fossil raw materials such as natural gas. The Northern Netherlands is taking the lead in this greening of chemistry." Reinder Jacobi, program manager of Chemport Europe adds: "To realize this ambition, the Chemport Europe partnership has been established. We are rolling out the red carpet for future-proof companies. Especially also for those companies that want to make the step from innovation to commercialization in chemistry."
"That commercialization is a big step, especially because of the scaling up to competitive scale. Such a first commercial plant requires a relatively large amount of capital, while the scale is still relatively small," Dina Boonstra, director of the NOM, summarizes the challenge. "For this reason, together with a consortium of regional financiers, together with the province of Groningen and Groningen Seaports, we have expressed our intention towards Avantium to jointly make a substantial contribution to the company's total funding needs." In total, this involves a regional contribution of €30 million. The consortium of regional financiers consists of Groningen Seaports, Province of Groningen, NOM, Fonds Nieuwe Doen, Groeifonds (EBG) and Investeringsfonds Groningen.
Reducing CO2 emissions
Groningen Seaports also provides the company with maximum support in connecting to the various facilities within the chemical cluster, such as industrial water. "The Eems Delta region is expressly looking for companies that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. This is also stipulated in, among other things, the final report of the Industry Table North Netherlands. Avantium's initiative is a wonderful example of this," said Cas König, director of Groningen Seaports and chairman of the Industry Table North Netherlands.
"We are very pleased to take this important step in the commercialization of our technology with the region," said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium. "Also thanks to a European grant obtained earlier this year, this puts us well on our way to securing funding for our flagship project. We hope to make an investment decision before the end of 2020."
About Chemport Europe
Chemport Europe is the name of the innovation ecosystem for chemistry and materials in the Northern Netherlands. In Chemport Europe, governments, companies and knowledge institutions work together on a shared ambition: changing the nature of chemistry. Within the Chemport region there are two industrial clusters (Delfzijl and Emmen) and an important knowledge cluster in Groningen. Chemport's ambition is to be the first climate neutral industry cluster in the Netherlands and perhaps Europe.
Avantium is globally active in the research, development and commercialization of innovative chemical applications aimed at replacing fossil raw materials with renewable ones. The company has already established two pilot plants in Delfzijl. The first - Dawn - produces industrial sugars from biomass not suitable for food. The second demonstration plant - Ray - converts industrial sugars into vegetable monoethylene glycol (MEG), a renewable feedstock for the chemical industry. In addition to developing its own technologies for sustainable chemistry, the company also conducts catalysis research on behalf of other chemical companies.