The French green chemistry company inaugurated, on September 29, its first large-scale plant in Carling Saint-Avold, in the East of France, on the Chemesis industrial platform.
Named Afyren Neoxy, the biorefinery has reached production start-up phase and should gradually increase volumes to produce 16,000 metric tons of carboxylic acids within two years. At this stage, 70% of the plant’s target production of organic acids has already been pre-sold, according to Afyren.
Sugar beet co-products
Based on natural micro-organisms and protected worldwide by ten patent families, Afyren’s biomimetic technology produces seven 100% biobased organic acids. These acids have several applications in various sectors: human food, animal feed, flavours and fragrances, lubricants, materials science and life sciences.
Transformed on the Saint-Avold platform through fermentation, extraction and purification steps, the carboxylic acids produced by Afyren are directly derived from sugar beet co-products and offer a low-carbon alternative to their traditionally petro-based equivalents.
Short supply and delivery channels
Thanks to its location in the centre of the European beet-producing basin, the Afyren Neoxy production unit has been able to commit to respecting short supply chains through a contract that provides for the delivery of co-products from sugar-beet crops located within a maximum radius of a few hundred kilometres from the factory.
As it is close to its main customers in Northern and Eastern France, the Benelux countries and Germany, the plant can offer secure, low-carbon delivery to its partners.
A EUR 80 million investment
Afyren has raised a total of more than 80 million euros in funding to complete this industrial project. Afyren chose to partner with Bpifrance, through its Société de Projets Industriels (SPI) fund. Afyren Neoxy is thefore a joint venture, 51% owned by Afyren and 49% by the “Société de Projets Industriels” (SPI) fund managed by Bpifrance.
“We are convinced of the potential of Afyren’s technology in terms of the decarbonization of industry and its ability to promote a strong, competitive and job-creating bioeconomy,” said Magali Joessel, Director of the SPI fund at Bpifrance.
The commissioning of the site involved the recruitment of 60 people, covering the whole range of industrial professions (production, maintenance, quality control, security, and administration).
Toward a low carbon industry?
“On the strength of this first success, we are already studying two scenarios for the establishment of a second plant in North America or Asia. We are obviously evaluating the structuring of the financing, but we are also carefully studying the environmental components so that this second plant will also benefit from access to local biomass and short supply chains,” said Nicolas Sordet, CEO and co-founder of Afyren.
This new production site could therefore be the first step toward a circular low-carbon industry providing biobased solutions.