20 M€ of funding for the flagship biorefinery of Afyren and the AFTER-BIOCHEM partnership

Type of post: NEWS.

A new flagship biorefinery will be built in France supported by the European Commission (EC) and the Bio-based Industry Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). Afyren and the AFTER-BIOCHEM partnership have obtained a funding of 20 M€ for the industrial production of new biobased products.

Figure 1. Short distance ecosystem of Afyren Neoxy (taken from the company website). In 2018, Afyren embarked on the realization of its industrial project Afyren Neoxy with the creation of a Joint Venture with the Spi fund from Bpifrance.

Nicolas Sordet (CEO of AFYREN): “Together, we are willing to contribute to the development of a sustainable European model of biorefinery, relying on low-carbon emission and circular bioeconomy principles”.

Project profile
AFTER-BIOCHEM (Anaerobic Fermentation & EsteRification of BIOmass for producing fine CHEMicals)
General objective
It aims to develop the first all-in-one chemical platform for transforming the sugar industry’s sidestreams into biosourced molecules and derivatives of industrial interest.
The feedstocks for the fermentation process will be sugar production byproducts such as beet pulp and molasses, to increase the sustainability of sugar beet, a key European crop.
The process will be sufficiently flexible to be able to adapt to alternative feedstocks.
In the fermentation process robust mixes of naturally occurring micro-organisms will produce organic acids such as propionic, butyric, isobutyric, valeric, isovaleric and caproic acids, with a mineral fertilizer sidestream. Based on the acids, a substantial number of derivatives may be produced, such as Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) and cellulose acetate. The esterification process will convert the acetic acid into ethyl acetate and the propionic acid into ethyl propionate to maximize product value and minimize waste and energy use.
The products will represent valuable renewable, biobased, domestically sourced alternatives to petrochemical products in numerous high-value applications such as flavorings and fragrances, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials and polymers.
Type of action
Innovation Action – Flagship
Start date – End date
01 May 2020 – 30 April 2024.
The objective from 2020 to 2022 will be to commission the flagship biorefinery in France (CHEMESIS industrial platform in Carling-Saint-Avold), which will then run at full capacity and integrate esterification from 2022 to 2024.
Two further biorefineries should be initiated in Europe from 2024. The annual revenue generated by the three plants represents 150 M€, and at least 180 direct technical jobs and a commensurate number of indirect jobs would be created.
Overall budget – BBI JU contribution
33,080,986.37 € – 19,959,552.01 €.
Afyren Neoxy (France)
Celanese Europe BV (Netherlands)
Fiabila (France)
Firmenich SA (Switzerland)
Kemin Europa NV (Belgium)
Omya International AG (Switzerland)
PNO Consultants (France)
Sudzucker AG (Germany)
Suez Groupe (France)
Thinkstep GmbH (Germany)

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