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Avantium raises funds to pursue commercial-scale PEF resin plant

By: Frank Esposito

June 6, 2014

Bio-based materials and packaging firm Avantium has received $50 million in financing from a group that includes beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. and blow molder Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH.

In a June 5 news release, officials with Amsterdam-based Avantium said their firm would use the investment to advance polyethylene furanoate (PEF), a bio-based alternative to PET. The firm already is working with Coke to make bottles from the material.

The new investment will allow for industrial validation of PEF, as well as finalizing the engineering and design of the first commercial-scale plant for the product.

“PEF is a 100 percent bio-based plastic with superior performance compared to today's packaging materials and represents a tremendous market opportunity,” CEO Tom van Aken said in the release. “Our proprietary YXY technology to make PEF has been proven at pilot plant scale as we are now moving to commercial deployment.”

In addition to Atlanta-based Coke and Hard, Austria-based Alpla, firms involved in the new round of financing for Avantium include French food conglomerate Danone and British investment firm Swire Pacific.

Coke next generation materials and sustainability research director Yu Shi added in the release that Coke “believes performance and sustainability can go hand-in-hand to make a world of difference for consumers, the environment and our business.”

“Avantium's breakthrough technology continues to offer a promising pathway for supporting both our efforts to commercialize renewable, plant-based plastics and develop unique properties for packaging to drive new growth,” he added.

Avantium currently makes PEF at a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. Its first commercial-scale plant — with annual capacity of 110 million pounds — is expected to be operational in 2017.