Solvay and Avantium partner to develop green engineering plastics from furanics building blocks
11 July 2011
Solvay and Avantium, which spun off from Shell in 2000 to develop furan-based biofuels and biomaterials (earlier post), have entered into a partnership to jointly develop a next generation of green high-performance polyamides for engineering plastics. The partnership combines Solvay’s leading position in specialty polymers and Avantium’s YXY technology for producing building blocks for green materials.
The companies will work together to explore the commercial potential of engineering plastics on the basis of YXY (furanic) building blocks—furanics are heteroaromatic compounds derived from the chemical intermediate HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural, C6H6O3).
The partnership is targeting new high-performance polyamides produced using renewable, bio-based feedstock. Solvay and Avantium target a next generation of polyamides with new properties that can serve a range of applications. Price and performance of the polyamides will be key drivers for the success of the project.
The companies will make a range of compositions containing Avantium’s YXY building blocks. Subsequently, Solvay Specialty Polymers will test these polyamides for engineering applications in areas such as automotive and electronic materials. Solvay and Avantium have entered into a multi-year, exclusive collaboration towards commercialization of the new polyamides.
The polyamides we will develop together will become another novel and exciting outlet for our YXY building blocks. Solvay’s expertise in the field of polyamides is very important to understand the polyamides we will focus on and bring them closer to commercial applications. This agreement is another important step to explore high-value added applications for our YXY building blocks, in addition to work we are already doing in a complementary polyamide area.—Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium
Avantium has developed YXY (pronounced “icksy”) for making materials and fuels that can compete on both price and performance with oil based alternatives, but which have a superior environmental footprint. YXY is a patented technology that converts biomass into furanic building blocks, such as FDCA (2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid).
This fast and cost-effective production process is based on Avantium’s catalytic technology. YXY can be implemented in existing chemical production assets.
Solvay is an international industrial group headquartered in Brussels and active in chemistry. In 2010, its consolidated sales amounted to €7.1 billion. Solvay Specialty Polymers represents approximately 15% of the Solvay Group’s total sales (approximately €1.1 billion in 2010).