Worley awarded FEED for bio-based plastic intermediate plant

Article by Amanda Jasi

TECHNOLGY developer Avantium has awarded Worley the front-end engineering design (FEED) contract to develop Avantium’s flagship 100% plant-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) facility to support the transition to a bio-based plastics economy.

FDCA can be applied to the production of many chemicals and plastics, including novel, fully recyclable, bio-based polyethylene furanoate (PEF), which could be used by packaging, textiles, and film industries. Avantium’s subsidiary Avantium Renewable Polymers is to build a flagship 5,000 t FDCA plant at Chemie Park in Delzijl, the Netherlands.

The plant will make FDCA and PEF commercially available. It will use Avantium’s novel YXY plant-to-plastics technology, which has already proven successful at a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. YXY plant-to-plastics technology catalytically converts plant-based sugars in a wide range of chemicals and plastics.

Worley previously completed the concept development phase for this project in March and concluded that Avantium was ready to progress to commercial scale.

Worley aims to complete the FEED phase by the end of the year, enabling Avantium to take a final decision for construction of its plant at the end of 2020.

The plant is expected to start up in 2023.

In January, Avantium entered a letter of intent with a Regional Consortium relating to the financing of the FDCA plant and associated costs for a total of €30m (US$34.3m) over the period of the plant’s completion in 2023.

Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium, said: “The Worley team brings strong expertise in technology assessment and has extensive experience in scaling up first-of-a-kind plants. We highly value our collaboration with Worley in the next exciting stage of development.”

Avantium is part of the PEFerence Consortium, which aims to replace a significant share of fossil-based polyesters, such as polyethylene terephthalate, and packaging materials like glass and metal with 100% bio-based furanics polyesters. PEFerence received about €25m of funding from Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a €3.7bn partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. BBI JU operates under the EU’s €80bn Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020.

The PEFrence project will end in 2025.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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