The Cleantech Group, a leading global research and advisory firm focused on innovation in energy and the environment, has selected Avantium, as the European Cleantech Company of the Decade. The Dutch-based technology company, which specializes in a new generation of bio-based plastics and chemicals based on its proprietary YXY technology platform, was picked because it has been the only European company to have been in the top 10 European companies within the Global Cleantech 100 for the past four years, according to Richard Youngman, managing director Europe & Asia, Cleantech Group.
Avantium has focused its efforts on the development of polyester polyethylene-furanoate (PEF), which is an analogue of polyethylene-terephthalate (PET). PEF is a novel generation of 100% biobased and recyclable polyester which has the potential to replace conventional fossil resources based durable materials like PET. PEF has properties superior to PET such as a significantly higher barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide and water, extending product shelf life and reducing production costs.
"Making PEF the next generation plastic is our goal: a 100 percent biobased plastic with enhanced performance over existing packaging materials at competitive costs. It is a long and challenging road to the top, but we are enjoying it and we are certain that we will get there," said Avantium CEO Tom van Aken.
To that end, the company has followed an active partnership strategy, seeking out collaborations with leading brands with the aim of to accelerating the advancement towards marketable products and services.
"We have created a strong market pull through our partnerships with the Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA for the development of PEF bottles for water, soft drinks, food and personal care. This year our focus will be on commercializing PEF: by the engineering and design of our first commercial plant," said Van Aken.
This one-off award was made in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Cleantech Forum Europe, held in Stockholm this year. The award was made in Stockholm's City Hall, the venue of the annual Nobel Prize ceremony.
The Cleantech Group had narrowed the group of potential winners down to private companies that had been started up and had been able to show "impressive results in the timeframe since we first conceived of a Cleantech Forum Europe," as Cleantech Group CEO Sheeraz Haji expressed it. "We sought companies whose stories are illustrative of the collective journey we have all been on, and whose promise for 2014 and beyond is exciting and speaks to the sustainable innovation opportunities in front of us."
"Avantium represents the exciting promise of renewable chemicals, as well as the challenge of building capital-intensive companies," added Youngman.