The first time I covered Avantium’s PEF (polyethylene furanoate) resin, which is being offered as an alternative to PET (polyethylene terephthalate), one of the industry concerns about this new bio-based material is if it can fit into the existing PET bottle infrastructure including its recyclability.
This recent news from Avantium is proving that PEF bottles could also have similar end-of-life solutions as that of PET bottles.
Avantium announced today that it has demonstrated the recyclability of PEF bottles into PEF fibers, which were then processed into 100% bio-based T-shirts (I would love to get a sample of that shirt *wink* *wink*). The PEF T-shirts were made by the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment.
“These first PEF T-shirts are yet another important step in the development and commercialization of PEF as a 100% biobased and recyclable material”, comments Tom van Aken, Avantium CEO. “The production of the first biobased PEF T-shirts produced from recycled bottles, adds apparel and sportswear to the many potential outlets of PEF. With its reduced carbon footprint, and improved performance, PEF is truly the sustainable plastic material of the future.”
Avantium’s 100% bio-based PEF bottles are made from the company’s patented YXY molecule based on 2,5 furandicarboxylic (FDCA) combined with plant-based monoethylene glycol (MEG). Avantium noted that PEF even has properties superior to PET such as higher barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide and water, extending product shelf life and reducing production costs. PEF is said to have carbon footprint that is 50-70% lower compared to today’s PET.
Avantium is producing FDCA from its 40 tonnes/year pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. Avantium plans to start commercial production of FDCA and PEF in 2016 through a 50,000 tons/year plant although the company did not indicate where it will be located.
Last year, Avantium has partnered with Danone’s research organization to jointly develop recyclable PEF bottles for Danone’s global bottled water business. In late 2011, Avantium has also partnered with Coca-Cola. This year, Avantium has partnered with European plastic converter ALPLA for the development of PEF bottles, as well as with Wifag-Polytype for the development of thermoformed PEF containers, drinking cups and trays.