French JV Finishes Biobased Acids Plant

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French JV Finishes Biobased Acids Plant
An opened jet aircraft engine, prepared for maintenance. French biochemical start-up Afyren announced that its Afyren Neoxy joint venture finished building its first commercial factory near Saint-Avold, France, and that it will begin in coming weeks to produce carboxylic acids. These include valeric acid, a building block in production of esters used to make synthetic aviation turbine oils and synthetic refrigeration lubricants. © Ev. Safronov

French biochemical start-up Afyren announced that its Afyren Neoxy joint venture has finished building its first commercial factory near Saint-Avold, France, and that it will begin in coming weeks to produce its carboxylic acids for lubricants and other applications.

The March 24 announcement did not discuss the plant’s size, but Afyren has previously stated that it would have capacity to make 16,000 metric tons per year of seven types of carboxylic acids.

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Founded in 2012, Afyren makes carboxylic acids from sugar beet co-products using fermentation processes. Among its products are valeric acid, a building block in the production of esters used to make synthetic refrigeration lubricants and aviation turbine oils. The company’s other products are used as flavors, nutrition in foods for humans and animals, and cosmetics.

Construction of the plant began in 2020, and Afyren officials said it was completed on time and on budget. They added that the company has €67 million cash on hand following an initial public stock offering that raised €70 million in September.

“We now have the financial resources and a first industrial tool to accelerate the achievement of our purpose,” CEO Nicolas Sordet said. Afyren’s stated purpose is to offer plant-based chemical solutions to businesses looking to promote a low-carbon, circular economy.

The company said it is already making plans to build two more factories and to have total production capacity of 70,000 tons per year by 2026.

The plant just north of Saint-Avold, in France’s Grand Est region that borders Germany, is a joint venture with Bpifrance, a France sovereign fund that invests in start-ups and small and medium enterprises.

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