EUR25 million subsidy for PEF; Synvina to build plant for FDCA


The European Joint Undertaking on Bio-Based Industries (BBI), consisting of representatives from the European Union and the bio-based industry, has granted EUR25 million funding to PEFerence, a consortium of 11 companies. The grant supports the establishment of a value chain for bio-based raw materials as well as chemicals and materials based on polyethylenefuranoate (PEF). It includes the intended construction of a 50,000-tonne furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) reference plant, the main chemical building block for the production of PEF.

Dutch firm Synvina, a joint venture of Avantium and BASF located in Amsterdam, will be coordinating the PEFerence project.

BBI acknowledges the engagement of PEFerence for more eco-friendly materials and end products, resulting in substantial benefits for the environment and society. Based on renewable feedstock, products made of PEF will significantly help to replace fossil-based packaging materials and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, following BBI’s assessment. PEF is a polyester suitable for applications such as bottles, films and polyurethanes.

PEF bottles can be recycled and used again as raw material for bottles, as well as for packaging and textiles. Additionally, PEF offers superior product properties in comparison to conventional polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and provides major advantages for end consumers. Improved barrier properties for gases allow to redefine packaging solutions based on PEF. It also offers a higher mechanical strength, thus thinner PEF packaging can be produced and fewer resources are required. PEF is suitable to produce bottles for carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, foil pouches as well as personal and home care products.

Besides Synvina and its shareholders BASF and Avantium, the partners in the PEFerence consortium are:

  • Tereos Participations (France),

  • Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner (Austria), OMV Machinery (Italy) and Croda Nederland (The Netherlands),

  • Nestec (Switzerland) and Lego System (Denmark),

  • Nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation (Germany) and Spinverse Innovation Management (Finland).

“The grant of the BBI is a strong signal for Synvina and our partners along the value chain to continue our mutual process to make PEF commercially available”, said Patrick Schiffers, CEO of Synvina.

He continued: “To open up a market for a new plastic based on renewable feedstock is a major challenge that we best meet with strong partners and our combined expertise. We share the common goal to get PEF commercially to the market thereby providing the market materials with superior properties and to establish sustainable and bio-based plastic value chains.”

BBI is a public-private partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium aiming at increasing investment in the development of a sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe. It aims at providing environmental and socio-economic benefits for European citizens, increasing the competitiveness of Europe and contributing to establishing Europe as a key player in research, demonstration and deployment of advanced bio-based products and biofuels. The BBI Joint Undertaking will also play an important role in achieving a bioeconomy in Europe.

Synvina operates a pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands, producing and marketing FDCA from renewable resources on pilot plant scale and markets PEF. Synvina aims to commercialise its activities in the future.

FDCA is a building block for various products including PEF, which is suitable for food and beverage packaging and for fibres for carpets and textiles. For the packaging industry, PEF offers characteristics like improved barrier properties and a higher mechanical strength enabling thinner packaging. It is also recyclable.


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