Test bottles made from PET © Synvina

PEFerence, a €25 million EU project, was officially launched at the end of September 2017. The partners will be cooperating for the next five years to establish an innovative value chain for FDCA (2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid) and PEF (Polyethylene furanoate), including the intended construction of a 50,000 tons reference plant in Antwerp.

FDCA is the essential chemical building block for the production of PEF. Compared to conventional plastics, PEF is characterized by improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen. This can lead to longer shelf life of packaged products. Due to its higher mechanical strength, thinner PEF packaging can be produced, thus a lower amount of packaging material is necessary. Therefore, PEF is particularly suitable for the production of certain food and beverage packaging, for example films and plastic bottles. After use, PEF can be recycled.

Led by Synvina, the consortium consists of 11 companies from 8 countries including Synvina, Avantium, BASF, Tereos Participations (France), Alpla Werke Alwin Lehner (Austria), OMV Machinery (Italy), Croda Nederland (The Netherlands), Nestec (Switzerland), Lego System (Denmark), nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation (Germany), and Spinverse Innovation Management (Finland). PEFerence has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N° 744409.