A prototype of the first all-biobased PET bottle showcased by The Coca-Cola Co. at Expo 2015


The Coca-Cola Company pavilion at Expo Milano 2015
The Coca-Cola Company pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

The bioeconomy is a great protagonist in Milan, at Expo 2015, a world-class exhibition celebrating sustainable innovation. The breakthrough bottles use BioFormPX® produced at Virent’s Madison, Wisconsin demonstration plant, are showcased as part of The Coca-Cola Company’s pavilion. BioFormPX paraxylene was used in the world’s first demonstration scale production of a PET plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based materials.

Virent and The Coca-Cola Company have been working together since 2011, when the companies first announced an agreement focused on the development of  Virent’s bio-based PX technology. In 2014, The Coca-Cola Company made an additional investment to support an expansion of Virent’s demonstration plant capability in order to help scale-up the separation and purification steps of the production process and produce larger quantities of BioFormPX. Far Eastern New Century (FENC) worked with Virent and The Coca-Cola Company to convert the BioFormPX to bio-PET resin.

“The Coca-Cola Company continues its innovative leadership commitment to sustainability and is a valued partner for Virent. Their support of our plans for the BioFormPX material in the next generation of PlantBottle packaging is critical in attracting manufacturing investment from the PET supply chain.” said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO.

In the course of its development work over the last few years, Virent has progressed its PX technology to commercial readiness and improved the process economics. Virent has run its demonstration system to fulfill customer fuel and chemical orders since it started operation in 2010. Virent currently has the capability to produce large quantities of BioFormPX paraxylene and other bio-based aromatic chemicals (benzene, toluene, and mixed xylenes) for applications such as packaging, textiles and construction. Virent also has produced sizable biofuels samples (gasoline, jet and diesel) for customer sampling and product development.

Virent’s patented technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemicals for plastics and fibers. The products are drop-in replacements that enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without blending limitations. The development of Virent’s BioForming® technology platform is supported through strategic partners including Cargill, Coca-Cola, Honda and Shell.

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