Photanol and AkzoNobel to build demonstration plant to make chemicals from sunlight


Marco Waas

Marco Waas

A demonstration plant for a groundbreaking technology to produce chemicals from sunlight will be built at Delfzijl, the Netherlands by AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and partner firm Photanol BV.

The companies formed a partnership in 2014 to jointly work on a technology using cyanobacteria that mimics the way plants use photosynthesis to produce chemical building blocks like organic acids from carbon dioxide (CO2).

These have applications in biodegradable plastics, personal care products and as intermediates for the chemical industry.

Photanol has closed a financing round with a group of Dutch investment firms that will allow the construction of the unit to go ahead; completion is expected in 2020.

Marco Waas, Director RD&I and Technology - Industrial Chemicals at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals said: "The joint development of Photanol's production capability is part of our strategic choice to collaborate with innovative companies to drive growth by developing more sustainable chemical platforms for our customers."

Véronique de Bruijn, CEO of Photanol BV added: "The Photanol team is keen to prove to the world that we can make a big difference by producing clean chemicals while reducing the CO2 burden on the environment."

The new investors in Photanol are GROEIfonds, Innovatiefonds Noord-Nederland and Investeringsfonds Groningen. 

"The new investment and the continued support of existing shareholders and partners are a testament to the potential of Photanol's CO2-to-chemicals technology," De Bruijn said.

Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Chief Technology Officer of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals added: "This is the next step in our partnership, where Photanol will ultimately produce a new and low-cost intermediate for one of our businesses. 

"This will allow us to make a step change in profitability and product quality. 

"We are proud to support Photanol making chemicals from sunlight at scale, and to help grow a profitable, green chemical cluster in Delfzijl."


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