AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Avantium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has started the construction of a pilot plant at the Chemelot site (Geleen, the Netherlands). The pilot plant will produce YXY building blocks for making green materials and fuels. Avantium has developed a novel and proprietary catalytic process to convert carbohydrates into furanic building blocks under the brand name YXY. The pilot plant is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2011. It marks a major milestone in the commercialization of a new generation of renewable materials and fuels.

The pilot plant will demonstrate the breakthrough process developed in Avantium’s labs at larger scale. Furthermore, it will produce several tons of YXY building blocks per year to support product development. Avantium is collaborating with industrial partners such as NatureWorks (a subsidiary of Cargill) and Teijin Aramid to develop novel materials based on YXY building blocks. Avantium collaborates with DAF Trucks (a Paccar company) on the development of YXY fuels. The company expects to use YXY building blocks for the production of green and recyclable materials such as water and soft drink bottles, carpets, textiles, high-performance fibers, coatings and plasticizers.

The pilot plant is partly funded by a EUR 1 million grant from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture. To run the pilot plant, and to further accelerate the commercialization of YXY, Avantium is raising additional private funding. The company expects to close a EUR 15 million round by the end of 2010.