Carlsberg Group and Dutch biochemical company Avantium agreed to take the next step in the commercialisation of PEF. The Danish Group signed a conditional offtake agreement with Avantium to secure a fixed volume of the 100% plant-based, recyclable and high-performance polymer PEF (polyethylene furanoate) from Avantium’s FDCA Flagship Plant, which Avantium aims to start-up in 2024. Carlsberg will use the PEF resin for various packaging applications, including its Fibre Bottle – the bio-based and fully recyclable beer bottle.
Carlsberg has also launched a trial of its latest Fibre Bottle, which contains an inner layer of PEF produced in Avantium’s current Pilot Plant. Carlsberg will sample the Fibre Bottle to 8,000 consumers and other selected stakeholders in eight pilot markets in Western Europe.
The two companies have been partners since 2019 as the companies worked together with Paboco® (Paper Bottle Company) and the Paper Bottle Community. Avantium and Carlsberg developed the Fibre Bottle, a barrier solution, and a pioneering packaging solution for Carlsberg beer, respectively. Today, the results are consisting of a wood fibre outer shell and a plant-based and recyclable PEF polymer liner. Beyond its sustainable packaging benefits, Avantium’s PEF – the company claims – has superior barrier properties, protecting the taste and fizziness of the beer and leading to a longer shelf life. PEF also has higher mechanical strength than conventional plastics, enabling thinner packaging and thereby reducing the amount of material required.
In 2021, Avantium and Carlsberg signed a Joint Development Agreement to develop several PEF packaging applications, including the Fibre Bottle. With the test results of PEF in the Fibre Bottle proving successful, Carlsberg has decided to sign a conditional offtake agreement with Avantium to purchase PEF resin coming from its Flagship Plant, currently under construction in The Netherlands, for its Fibre Bottle and for the development of other beer packaging applications.
In its largest trial of the Fibre Bottle to date, today Carlsberg has revealed the latest generation design featuring the PEF lining and will sample 8,000 bottles across eight Western European markets throughout the summer. The bottles will be introduced to local consumers, customers and other stakeholders at selected festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product sampling. Making the product accessible and gathering consumer feedback at this scale will be key to informing the next generation of design and accelerating Carlsberg’s ambition to make the Fibre Bottle a commercial reality.
“We are delighted – Stephane Munch, VP Group Development at Carlsberg, said – to be bringing our new Fibre Bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves. However, this pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance, and recycling of this product at scale. Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges – so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement!”
“We are pleased – Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium, said – to expand our partnership with Carlsberg. It is a truly exciting milestone that – for the very first time – consumers can now experience a PEF- lined beer bottle. With business partners such as Carlsberg Group, Avantium can further scale and build the PEF value chain, meeting the growing global demand for circular and renewable material solutions. This is what the material transition is about: ensuring that consumers can get access to novel and sustainable products at scale.”