Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - 36

Mango Materials uses methane and
bacteria to create PHA biopolymers
for fibers. Photo: Mango Materials.

from fossil-based resources to plant-based
chemicals and materials.
Avantium currently has three
technologies at pilot and demonstration
phase, according to Caroline van Reedt
Dortland, director of communications. YXY
plant-to-plastics-technology catalytically
converts plant-based sugars into a wide
range of chemicals and plastics, such as
PEF (polyethylene furanoate), which has
the potential to replace various packaging
materials such as PET, glass or aluminum.
"Avantium has successfully
demonstrated our YXY plants-to-plastics
technology to produce PEF at the pilot
plant in Geleen, the Netherlands,
and is planning to open a commercial
flagship plant in 2023," says Van Reedt
Dortland. "However, textiles is a highly
commoditized industry, for which only
the price levels of PEF produced on an
industrial scale will become of interest.
"We are currently working with
partners to explore the future potential
of PEF fibers in mainly high-value
industrial fibers," she says.
Avantium's second project is the
Dawn Technology™ that converts

Avantium develops innovative technologies for bio-based
monomers and polymers. Photo: Avantium.

36 REVIEW DECEMBER 2019

nonfood biomass into industrial sugars
such as glucose, which is a core building
block for many bio-based products and is
increasingly important in the transition
towards a circular economy. "All materials
made from petroleum today, such as
bottles, polyester clothing and carpets,
can be replaced with materials made
from industrial sugars," Van Reedt
Dortland points out.
The third technology, Mekong,
is reported to have strong commercial
potential. Mekong catalytically converts
industrial sugars to plant-based MEG (monoethylene glycol). MEG is a component for
making everyday consumer goods, such as
PET and PEF plastics and polyester textiles.
Avantium recently received a €6
million grant from SPIRE, the European
Union's subsidy program to facilitate the
sustainable process industry.
Mango Materials, Redwood City,
Calif., established in 2010, uses methane
and bacteria to create its versions
of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).
The company has joint development
agreements with well-known, forwardthinking companies.
"Currently we are optimizing our
formulation for fibers and conducting
numerous melt spinning trials," says
Dr. Molly Morse, company CEO.
"Finding the optimal combination of
melt processing, material property and
environmental attributes and designing
for next use is a work of art. Different
types of melt spinning equipment
and configuration can influence these
properties, so it is quite some effort to
work through the supply chain."
Morse feels that Mango's biggest
challenge is the industry's lack of
familiarity with PHA. "It is still
considered a new material," she says,
"and a lot of education is required to get
everyone up to speed and to understand
the optimal processing conditions and
techniques. Biopolymer textiles made



Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019

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Specialty Fabrics Review December 2019 - 1
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