Virent has developed catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum. PET made from Virent's bio-based paraxylene features the same high quality and recyclability as the petroleum-based materials traditionally used, with the added benefit of being made from a wide range of renewable materials. In the course of the collaboration with Coca-Cola, Virent has progressed its PX technology to commercial readiness, improved the process economics and produced bio-based PX which has been converted by Coca-Colainto 100% bio-based PET bottles. This new investment will allow production of larger quantities of BioFormPX material.
Virent and Coca-Cola have been working together since 2011, when the companies signed the initial joint development and supply agreements to investigate the use of Virent's paraxylene as a route to 100% renewable PlantBottle PET resin.
That was the same year that Coca-Cola also announced multi-million dollar partnership agreements with two other biotechnology companies - Gevo and Avantium - as part of its push to accelerate the development of 100% plant-based packaging materials.
The collaboration with Virent has proven fruitful, says Coca-Cola. "Over the course of our work together, Virent has continuously delivered on their commitments and advanced their technology," said Scott Vitters, general manager of the PlantBottle innovation platform at Coca-Cola. "That progress supports building additional capability for Virent and advances us on the path to a full-scale commercial solution for our 100% plant-based PET plastic packaging".
A sentiment echoed by Vivent. "The Coca-Cola Company continues to be a valued partner for Virent. Their intention to use our BioFormPX material in the next generation of PlantBottle packaging is critical in attracting manufacturing partners from the PET supply chain. This - along with the progress we've made in our joint development work - moves us closer to seeing the first commercial 100% bio-based PET bottles on retail shelves made using Virent technology" said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO.