Switzerland-based AVA Biochem BSL AG said it has begun operation of the world’s first industrial plant for producing 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) at Muttenz in Clariant’s Infrapark near Basel. The plant initially can produce 20 tons/year of 5-HMF with a purity of up to 99.9% using biomass such as wood for feedstock.
AVA Biochem said there is no industrial process worldwide for 5-HMF production until now. The company uses a modified version of the hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process to produce the platform chemical in industrial quantities and consistent quality.
The company said it will continue to develop its product process and has already applied a number of patents. AVA Biochem is supplying the product to industrial and research customers around the world.
The company’s goal is to use its proprietary production process to achieve market leadership for 5-HMF production. Fructose is typically the sugar feedstock used in producing 5-HMF but given that fructose is expensive, there had been several research in using glucose instead.
If the blog remembers correctly, 5-HMF can also be processed further (via oxidation) into 2,5 furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is what Avantium has been working on as alternative to terephthalic acid (PTA) in the production of polyesters.