29. Jun 2018

Avantium to open pilot biorefinery; sights already set on commercial scale-up

Avantium N.V., a leading technology development company and forerunner in renewable chemistry, announced 28 June that it will officially open a pilot biorefinery for its Zambezi technology in Delfzijl, Netherlands next month. The opening ceremonies will take place in Amsterdam on 10 July and in Delfzijl on 13 July.

nAvantium develops novel technologies that use renewable carbon sources instead of fossil resources. The Delfzijl plant will pilot Avantium’s latest technology to convert plant-based non-food feedstock to high purity industrial sugars and lignin. The industrial sugars are used in chemistry and fermentation processes to produce a broad range of durable materials, while lignin is used in energy generation.
The province of Groningen is supporting the pilot biorefinery with a RIG (‘Regionale Investeringssteun Groningen’) subsidy of €1.8 million. RIG is a financial instrument which aims to support settlement of industrial companies in the Eemsdelta region.
Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium, called the opening ‘a milestone in our work to support the transition to a circular economy’. “We are already looking beyond the pilot phase. We have a consortium of partners committed to developing a commercial-scale plant,” he said.
Avantium previously announced it had founded a consortium to develop an ecosystem for the biorefinery technology. The consortium consists of AkzoNobel, RWE, Staatsbosbeheer and Chemport Europe, an incubator for green chemistry. Each brings specific expertise for the planned commercial-scale biorefinery.
“We have gathered the right partners to tap into local expertise, utilities and infrastructure for the future commercial scale-up of our technology in the Netherlands,” said Van Aken. “Other potential partners around the world have also expressed interest in licensing our technology for local deployment, to make glucose from a wide variety of feedstocks.”
Gert-Jan Gruter, Chief Technology Officer of Avantium, added that “glucose is a core building block for the transition towards a bio-based economy”. He noted that all materials made from petroleum today can be replaced by with materials derived from glucose.
Patrick Brouns, regional minister of the province of Groningen, is pleased to welcome Avantium to Delfzijl, and the “innovation, green chemistry and highly skilled jobs” the company is bringing to the region, which fit well with the existing local chemistry, energy and agricultural sectors and knowledge institutions. “With Chemport Europe, we also support the future commercial-scale biorefinery in Delfzijl, ” he said.


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