Afyren Starts Carboxylic Acids Plant

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Afyren Starts Carboxylic Acids Plant
The Afyren Neoxy joint venture commercial factory in France produces biobased carboxylic acids, derived from sugar beet co-products, for lubricants and other applications. Photo courtesy of Afryren

French biochemical start-up Afyren on Sept. 29 announced completion of the start-up phase of its Afyren Neoxy joint venture factory near Saint-Avold, France. The plant will produce biobased carboxylic acids, derived from sugar beet co-products, for lubricants and other applications.

The Sept. 29 announcement didn’t disclose the plant’s current capacity but said it will gradually increase its production of carboxylic acids to 16,000 metric tons by 2024. The company said that 70% of its target production of organic acids has already been pre-sold.

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Founded in 2012, Afyren produces carboxylic acids from sugar beet co-products through fermentation processes. It makes three types of acids used as building blocks for polyol ester lubricants and functional fluids — valeric, isovaleric and caproic. Main applications include compressor oils, metalworking fluids, refrigeration lubricants and immersion cooling fluids for electric vehicle engines. Other acids produced at the plant are used in sectors such as food, flavors and fragrances.

Afyren announced completion of the plant and its industrial commissioning in March. Construction had started in March 2020.

The site’s location in the center of a European beet-producing basin enabled the company 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 kilometers from the factory.

Afyren said that because the acids are destined for main customers in Northern and Eastern France, the Benelux countries and Germany, the plant can offer secure, low-carbon delivery to its partners.

The company said it raised a total of more than €80 million in funding from public and private sources to complete the industrial project. To take its technology into the industrial phase, Afyren partnered with Bpifrance, through its Société de Projets Industriels fund. Afyren Neoxy biorefinery is a joint venture, 51% owned by Afyren and 49% by the SPI fund managed by Bpifrance.

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