Avantium is ready to open a pilot biorefinery for its Zambezi technology in Delfzijl, Netherlands


Avantium’s pilot plant in the Nerherlands

Amsterdam-based Avantium, a leading technology development company and forerunner in renewable chemistry, will officially open a pilot biorefinery for its Zambezi technology in Delfzijl, Netherlands. Opening ceremonies will take place in Amsterdam on 10 July and in Delfzijl on 13 July. The province of Groningen is supporting the pilot biorefinery with a RIG (‘Regionale Investeringssteun Groningen’) subsidy of €1.8 million.

Avantium develops novel technologies that use renewable carbon sources instead of fossil resources. The Delfzijl plant will pilot Avantium’s latest technology to convert plant-based non-food feedstock to high purity industrial sugars and lignin. The industrial sugars are used in chemistry and fermentation processes to produce a broad range of durable materials, while lignin is used in energy generation.

“We are thrilled to open our pilot biorefinery – Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium, said – which will enable the use of non-food biomass, such as forestry residue, to make many products people use every day. This is a milestone in our work to support the transition to a circular economy, and we are already looking beyond the pilot phase. We have a consortium of partners committed to developing a commercial-scale plant.”

Avantium previously announced it had founded a consortium to develop an ecosystem for the biorefinery technology. The consortium consists of AkzoNobel, RWE, Staatsbosbeheer and Chemport Europe, each of which brings specific expertise for the planned commercial-scale biorefinery.

“We have gathered the right partners to tap into local expertise, utilities and infrastructure for the future commercial scale-up of our technology in the Netherlands,” said Van Aken. “Other potential partners around the world have also expressed interest in licensing our technology for local deployment, to make glucose from a wide variety of feedstocks.”

According to Gert-Jan Gruter, Chief Technology Officer of Avantium, “glucose is a core building block for the transition towards a bio-based economy. We can replace all materials made from petroleum today with materials made from glucose. Our technology makes optimal use of already available agricultural and forestry residues.”

“We are happy to welcome Avantium to Delfzijl”, Patrick Brouns, regional minister of the province of Groningen, stated. “They bring innovation, green chemistry and highly skilled jobs to the region and fit well with the existing local chemistry, energy and agricultural sectors and the knowledge institutions. With Chemport Europe we also support the future commercial-scale biorefinery in Delfzijl.”

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