Dutch biotechnology company Avantium NV will build a pilot plant for its Mekong technology in Chemie Park Delfzijl, in the Netherlands.
With a 10 metric tons per year of capacity to produce plant-based monoethylene glycol (MEG), the new demonstration plant is scheduled to open in the second half of the year, the company announced March 26.
MEG is a key feedstock for the manufacture of polyester resins, films and fibers. The Mekong technology involves a single-step process to produce MEG from industrial sugars.
“Our plant-based MEG has the potential to transform everyday packaging materials and commonly used textiles from fossil-based to plant-based products,” said CEO Tom van Aken.
According to Zanna McFerson, managing director renewable chemistries at Avantium, the Dutch company is “progressing well” in developing partnerships to scale up the Mekong technology to a commercial stage.
“We are engaged with key partners on the technical validation of our Mekong technology and, in parallel, we are making significant progress in our commercialization efforts,” she added.
The Mekong demonstration plant will be located near Avantium's Dawn Technology pilot biorefinery, which started operation in July 2018 and produces high purity glucose which is a building block for many materials including bioplastics.
The company also makes polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), a plant-based alternative to PET, based on its YXY technology at a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.
Avantium said it selected the Delfzijl location partly due to a 2 million euro ($2.25 million) grant by the European Regional Development Fund, facilitated by Partnership Northern Netherlands.