Interview with Pablo Gil Navarro, Project Leader at Avantium
Q: What are the main challenges of the feedstock platform analysis? How is Avantium overcoming them?
A: It is no secret that to reduce the environmental impact of the chemical industry, we need to start with the source. In order not to be so reliant on fossil resources, deriving our raw materials from a sustainable source is of outmost importance.
Avantium Dawn Technology TM uses renewable sources like forestry and agricultural residues to generate second generation (2G) sugars and other products that can link directly to the electrochemical conversion platform. We have successfully scaled this technology up to a pilot stage.
Two main sugar streams (a high purity glucose stream and a mixed sugars one) are generated through this process. Together with the partners Avantium will study the feasibility to convert these sugars to in PERFORM’s Power Platform to valuable compounds, which in this case is adipic acid.
Our novel Dawn Technology TM provides a raw material that is similar to already existing sugar streams from first generation refineries. Nevertheless, there are nuances to this such as the presence of traces and rheological behavior that differ from off-the-shelf, less-sustainable feedstock. The end-product quality is one of the challenges that Avantium is focusing on and the feedback from our partners at PERFORM will help us to ensure that key parameters such as salt content and conductivity, pH, etc. are optimized for this kind of application.
Some of the work we are performing includes monitoring oligomerization levels, impurity tracking, de-acidification steps and optimization of the purification steps in general.
Within PERFORM, our objective is to prove that a more sustainable approach to production of chemicals is not only a good idea, but also a realistic one.