The masterbatches are tailored to impart properties to plastics and as such are an effective way to diversify and expand polymer applications. With PEF from Avantium’s FDCA Flagship Plant, Sukano will develop masterbatches for PEF resins, facilitating fast adoption in many diversified markets and thus accelerating the growth of PEF.
Avantium recently announced that it has started the construction of the world’s first commercial plant for the production of FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) from plant-based sugars. FDCA is the key ingredient for making the sustainable, circular and high-performance plastic material PEF (polyethylene furanoate). Avantium expects that construction of this FDCA Flagship Plant is completed by the end of 2023, enabling the commercial launch of PEF from 2024 onwards. In 2021, Avantium generated offtake commitments for half of the Flagship Plant’s capacity.
Sukano and Avantium have joined efforts in the development of antiblock masterbatches for PEFfilm applications. To this end, Sukano and Avantium have conducted comprehensive lab trials in Sukano’s in-house R&D laboratory, producing biaxially oriented PEF films for packaging applications. The collaborative development work has resulted in two prototype masterbatches capable of providing antiblock performance of the surface of biaxially oriented PEF film. Both developed antiblock masterbatches offer a significant friction reduction without interfering with the performance of the stretched PEF films. The availability of antiblock masterbatches opens the possibility to further develop PEF and PEF-based films at (pre-)industrial scale equipment.
Norman Egger, CEO of Sukano AG, comments: “The PEF offering and performance sparked our interest and we are impressed by the potential of this new resin. With Sukano’s pioneering and entrepreneurial backbone we are convinced that our expertise in additives and color masterbatches for polyesters adds clear value to the use of PEF in various applications. The conditional offtake agreement with Avantium is a key step forward to showcase this, and to provide our customers with fit-for-purpose innovative and biobased polyester alternatives to lower the environmental impact of this industry value chain.”
Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium, says: “We are very pleased with the partnership with Sukano. With Sukano’s application know-how and expertise on masterbatches and compounds on the one hand and Avantium’s knowledge on PEF, it is a natural step to work together to innovate quicker and further, whilst opening the road for tailored performance of PEF in industrial film, fiber and moulded applications.”