Avantium Renewable Chemistries Update on Bio-MEG
and Electrochemical CO2 to Chemicals

- Alan A Smith


Avantium has recently announced the completion of the JV with BASF named Synvina.® It’s goal is to develop world-leading positions in FDCA and PEF by building a 25-50ktpa first commercial plant at the BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp and to subsequently license the technology for industrial scale production. Synvina® will use the YXY process® developed by Avantium for the production of FDCA.

There are two projects in an earlier phase which we are able to share more details on...

  1. Mekong process – to produce bio-based monoethylene glycol (bio-MEG) from carbohydrates
  2. Volta – A program for Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to Chemicals

The Mekong process is a one-step, high atom efficiency process which is competitive with the oil based MEG. The current commercial bio-MEG is made in a 4-step low atom efficiency process from fermentable sugars making it too expensive, especially in a low oil environment. With bio-MEG demands estimated to reach 3 million tonnes in the next few years and the wider MEG market some 10x this volume, the potential for the technology is enormous.

Figure 1: Mekong Process

For several years now, Avantium has been developing a technology platform to electrochemically convert carbon dioxide. By bringing in our technology and our capabilities in catalyst research into the area of electrochemistry, we aim to develop a powerful electrolysis technology platform on the basis of CO2 feedstock.

In November 2016, Avantium acquired Liquid Light, a Princeton 2009 start-up in which more than 35 million dollars was invested. Liquid Light has developed proprietary process technology to make major chemicals from CO2. The acquisition combines the technologies of both Liquid Light and Avantium to develop a world leading electro-catalysis platform and brings Avantium in the top of the world’s Intellectual Property position in carbon dioxide related electrolysis. Using this technology platform, Avantium aim’s to develop an integrated process for the production of high-value C2 chemicals from CO2.

Figure 2: Volta Value Tree

The current status and perspectives of Mekong & Volta will be discussed further in the talk.