Avantium has developed a process technology to produce FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid), the key building block for PEF (polyethylene furanoate), which is a 100% plant-based, recyclable, and high-quality polymer with a wide range of applications in areas such as monolayer bottles, multilayer bottles, food & beverage packaging and textiles. Avantium expects to complete the construction of the world’s first commercial FDCA factory by the end of 2023, enabling the commercial launch of PEF from 2024 onwards.
PEF can be used, amongst others, in multilayer PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles as a barrier material, replacing existing barrier materials such as nylon. Due to the excellent barrier properties of PEF (the ability to withstand gas permeability through the bottle), this leads to a full polyester (PET and PEF) product design for beverages such as carbonated drinks, juices or beer. The replacement by PEF of other barrier materials, such as nylon, furthermore leads to improved recyclability of the multilayer PET bottle.
In accordance with the EPBP protocol, an independent third party (PTI Europe Sarl) conducted an evaluation to determine the effect of multilayer PET bottles containing 10% PEF on the PET recycling stream. The results have demonstrated that the PET/PEF multilayer bottles have no negative impact on haze and other properties of the resulting rPET products at a market penetration of 5%, also taking potential local accumulation into account. Based on the assessment’s outcome, EPBP has awarded an interim endorsement to Avantium’s PEF resin.
Dirk De Cuyper, CEO of Resilux, is pleased with this interim endorsement. Resilux, an international rigid plastic packaging supplier, signed a conditional offtake agreement for PEF with Avantium in 2021. “This endorsement of EPBP is an important milestone for the market introduction of PEF. We believe that PEF as a barrier material will significantly improve the circularity of high barrier bottles for carbonated and/or perishable beverages. The results leading to this interim endorsement show the potential of combining the PEF performance in PET product designs. We look forward teaming up with our customers to further close the loop for PET recycling.”
The interim endorsement applies for a period that will expire on 30 June 2025. This interim period allows Avantium to collect data from the recycling market at scale, once Avantium’s commercial plant is operational, expected in 2024. If the data is line with its guidelines, EPBP will convert the endorsement to a full endorsement. The full text of the EPBP interim endorsement is published on the EPBP website (www.epbp.org).
1The European PET Bottle Platform is a voluntary initiative of industry organisations representing waste collectors, plastic recyclers, PET material producers and brand owners. EPBP provides PET bottle design guidelines for recycling, evaluates PET bottle packaging solutions and technologies as well as facilitates the understanding of the effects of new PET bottle innovations on recycling processes