Afyren Begins Commercial Production

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French biochemical start-up Afyren last week announced completion of several long production cycles to deliver the first commercial volumes of biobased carboxylic acids from its Afyren Neoxy joint venture factory near Saint-Avold, France.

Plans call for continuous production later this year. The factory’s biobased carboxylic acids are derived from sugar beet co-products and are designed for lubricants and other applications.

Afyren noted work undertaken at the acids plant since the beginning of this year. “The improved reliability of the equipment, combined with the increased skills of the teams regarding a critical stage of the process enabled several long production cycles, carried out under operating conditions in line with expectations,” it said in a press release.

The company added that successes of the last few weeks enabled production of several tons,” it said. “Afyren does not foresee any technical difficulties at this stage, although a running-in period is required. The current operations should enable the first commercial volumes of bio-based acids to be delivered to Afyren’s partners.”

The acid plant’s production capacity has not been disclosed. Afyren announced the start-up phase of the joint venture plant in September 2022, and at that time targeted production of 16,000 tons of carboxylic acids by 2024. At the time, the company said 70% of its target production of organic acids had already been pre-sold.

Founded in 2012, Afyren produces carboxylic acids from sugar beet co-products through fermentation processes. It manufactures 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 motors. 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.

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, with Afyren owning 51% and 49% owned by the SPI fund managed by Bpifrance.

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