Wifag-Polytype and Avantium announce agreement on 100% biobased PEF for thermoforming
At the start of the K-show, Wifag-Ploytype and Avantium announced their agreement to collaborate on thermoformed products from 100% biobased PEF. This collaboration will be complementary to collaborations Avantium has in place with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Both parties are excited about the market opportunity of PEF in the novel application area of thermoforming of cups, containers and trays, which are used today for the packaging of food products like meats, nuts, or dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.
PEF (or polyethylene furanoate) is a novel polymer produced by Avantium’s proprietary YXY technology. The YXY technology is running in Avantium’s pilot plant in Geleen, and converts plant based feedstock into chemical building blocks. PEF is a next generation plastic. It has superior properties over existing materials, it can be produced cost competitively and is 100% biobased, resulting in a more than 50% reduction in carbon footprint and non-renewable energy usage.
“Thermoforming is an excellent application for PEF plastics”, commented Gert-Jan Gruter, Avantium CTO. “Since PEF has superior barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over PET, it offers exciting new growth opportunities. Due to its ten times higher oxygen barrier, PEF could extend the shelf life of perishable goods like meats or cheeses. The higher thermal stability of PEF compared to PET could enable packaging opportunities for microwaveable products.”
Wifag-Polytype is a leading manufacturer of thermoforming and printing equipment, and the sole company producing the entire range from sheet extrusion, to thermoforming, to coating and printing of thermoformed products. “The collaboration with Avantium on PEF in sheet extrusion, thermoforming and decoration of thermoformed products fits therefore well in our strategy of offering equipment enabling a total packaging solution comprising color, contour and convenience”, says Peter Ruth, Wifag-Polytype CEO. “With the recent integration of OMV into the Wifag-Polytype Group of companies we take a leadership position in providing innovative and sustainable packaging solutions to the thin wall packaging market. Today we are happy to announce this partnership with Avantium which will allow us to offer our customers thermoforming and decoration solutions for PEF, a biobased polymer with very attractive technical properties.”
Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium, adds: “Thermoforming can be a potential outlet for recycled PEF, providing an additional end-of-life solution for our PEF bottles. Wifag-Polytype’s proven track record of innovation and paradigm shifts has resulted in its ability to address every step in the thermoforming process from sheet extrusion to decoration. This makes them the ideal partner for developing these new PEF applications. Avantium and Wifag-Polytype would welcome other parties interested in working with us on PEF thermoformed packaging.”