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Plant-based glycols for production of polyesters Avantium (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has completed the application validation for its plantbased glycols plantMEG and plantMPG produced in the Ray Technology demonstration plant in Delfzijl (The Netherlands). Key applications include polymerisation to PEF and PET polyesters and functional fluids used for deicing and heat transfer. Proving the functional performance of the plant-based glycols is an important step in the scaleup of the Ray Technology. Avantium aims to commercialise its proprietary plantsto-glycols Ray Technology, which is used to produce monoethylene glycol (MEG) from plant-based feedstocks rather than fossil sources: plantMEG. Currently, MEG is widely used as an important chemical building block for plastic bottles and packaging, polyester textiles for clothing and furniture, and antifreeze applications. It is a vital ingredient in the production of polyesters widely used in textiles and packaging. Similarly, mono-propylene glycol (MPG) a chemical used in airport operations for the de-icing of aeroplanes can be produced using the Ray Technology, it is also used in unsaturated polyester resins, for example in modern windmill blades, as well as heat transfer fluids. Ray plantMPG is a wholly plant-based version of MPG. Both plantMEG and plantMPG are expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to their fossil-based equivalents. In 2020, Avantium successfully commissioned its Ray Technology demonstration plant, which utilises all process steps in converting industrial sugars to glycols, allowing for the production of plantMEG and plantMPG samples that are representative of the final product from subsequent commercial-scale plants. Avantium has now produced 100 % plant-based PEF (polyethylene furanoate) by polymerising Avantium’s monomers FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) and plantMEG using their YXY ® Technology. PEF is a recyclable polymer that can be used in an enormous range of applications, including packaging for soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages and fruit juices. PEF’s barrier and thermal properties are superior to conventional PET. In combination with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, the added functionality gives PEF all the characteristics to potentially become a next-generation polyester. Ray plantMEG can also be used to produce bio-PET (30 % plantMEG), reducing the environmental footprint versus the fossil-based production routes. Currently, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is made from fossil-based MEG and fossil-based terephthalic acid. Zanna McFerson, managing director Renewable Chemistries at Avantium says: “A critical step in commercialising the Ray Technology is ensuring that the resulting products, Ray plantMEG and plantMPG, perform in customer-specific applications. We have now succeeded in demonstrating that our plant-based glycols are a great solution in a broad range of applications that can drive us towards a circular economy. This application validation paves the way for future licensees of the Ray Technology to tap into the growing demand for plantbased, renewable and recyclable materials.” AT generic picture Blow Moulding / Bottles Magnetic for Plastics • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge. • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets. • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry. Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/21] Vol. 16 21

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