Commercial FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) production will be coming soon as Avantium and BASF formally announced the formation of Synvina, a joint venture to be based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that will produce and market FDCA as well as market the new polymer, polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) based on FDCA. The JV is planning to invest a mid-three-digit million euro sum to build a reference plant with an annual capacity of up to 50 ktpa at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, and to license the technology for industrial scale production. Synvina will use the YXY process developed by Avantium, which is based on fructose as renewable raw material.
PEF has been gaining interests in the polyester market as it offers better characteristics such as improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to a longer shelf life of packaged products. It also offers a higher mechanical strength, and therefore thinner PEF packaging can be produced. PEF is also said to be suitable for foil pouches, bottles for carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, water, dairy products, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages as well as personal and home care products. The only question that I’ve been receiving so far with regards to PEF is the recyclability of PEF packaging especially bottles, if it can be integrated with current PET recycling.
FDCA on the other hand is also a platform chemical and a building block for various downstream products. 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.
Synvina will continue Avantium’s established partnering and development activities with leading brands such as the Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA, etc. With Toyobo, the companies aim to further develop PEF films for food packaging, in electronics applications, industrial and medical packages. With Mitsui, Synvina will work on developing PEF thin films and PEF bottles in Japan.