Will we soon be drinking Coke from a bottle made from sweet-corn?

August 15, 2014

It might well happen! Right now, there's research being carried out on Chemelot Campus into a sustainable alternative to the PET bottle. Avantium, a spin-off of Shell, has developed a process for producing bio-based building blocks for plastics from biomaterials (such as sugars). These are so-called furans. The bioplastic PEF (polyethylene furanoate) made from maize (sweet-corn) sugars is a possible replacement for PET.

To further develop the PEF production process, Avantium has set up a trial factory on the Chemelot Campus, partly financed by Coca-Cola and Danone. If the pilot is successful, a decision will have to be taken as to where the first full-scale production plant for PEF bottles will be located. Although energy prices in the Netherlands are much higher than in the United States, for example (a difference of €20 million per year in energy costs!) Avantium regards Chemelot as a viable location thanks to its unique combination of available know-how, facilities and talent.

Apart from soft-drink bottles, research is being carried out into the possibility of making carpets, clothes, fabrics, nappies and beakers out of PEF in the future.

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Watch video: Avantium about the pilot PEF bottles