The new joint venture Synvina is positioned in the market for drop-in bioplastics with advanced product characteristics.
BASF and Avantium have formed a joint venture for the production and marketing of the green building block furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and the drop-in bioplastic polyethylene furanoate (PEF) made from FDCA. Synvina will be headquartered in Amsterdam and will invest several hundred millions euros to build a plant producing 50,000 metric tons annually at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, to demonstrate feasibility of manufacture at industrial scale and to license production.
FDCA will be manufactured from biomass such as maize, which is degraded to fructose prior to using Avantium’s YXY process. Synvina will be a major competitor to PLA and FDCA producer Corbion Purac, which has developed a technology that allows production of non-outgazing, lightweight, 100% bio-based PEF bottles in extisting production plants. However, also other competitors such as DuPont, Eastman Kodak and AVA Biochem have developed appropriate platforms to produce PEF and its bio-based building blocks.
Back in 2014, Avantium Technologies BV announced it will build the world’s very first industrial production plant with financial support of Swire Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, and ALPLA.
FDCA is a promising platform chemical and a building block for PEF polyesters suitable for food and beverage packaging as well as for fibers for carpets and textiles. For the packaging industry, PEF offers improved characteristics compared to commodity plastics such as PET, such as improved barrier properties for carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to a longer shelf life of packaged products. It also offers a higher mechanical strength, thus thinner PEF packaging can be produced and fewer resources are required. PEF is suitable for foil pouches, bottles for carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, water, dairy products, still and sports drinks and alcoholic beverages as well as personal and home care products. Alongside the polyester PEF, FDCA can be processed to polyamides for engineering plastics and fibers, to polyurethanes for foams, coatings and adhesives and to esters for personal care products and lubricants.
With Mitsui, Synvina will work on developing PEF thin films and PEF bottles in Japan. Furthermore, Synvina aims to continue the development partnerships with The Coca Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA and other companies on the Joint Development Platform for PEF bottles.