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BioBTX secures over €80 million to launch world’s first renewable aromatics plant

| By Mary Bailey

BioBTX, a pioneering developer of renewable aromatics technology in the Netherlands, has secured over €80 million to launch its first commercial-scale plant. This investment will fund the world’s first renewable chemicals plant utilizing BioBTX’s innovative ICCP Technology to produce sustainable aromatics (BTX) from plastic waste and biomass.

By converting plastic waste and biomass into renewable aromatics, BioBTX is spearheading the creation of a circular chemical industry, significantly reducing carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Aromatics, essential for producing every-day products like insulating foams, coatings, PET bottles, batteries, and pharmaceuticals, will now have a sustainable alternative to fossil-based sources, presenting a major opportunity for circular business models.

As a leading technology developer since 2012, Groningen-based BioBTX aims to scale up its revolutionary technology at the PETRA Circular Chemicals Plant in Delfzijl. The PETRA plant will convert 20,000 tons of mixed plastic waste annually into renewable aromatics, replacing fossil resources and recycling low-value plastic waste into high-value chemicals. Once production is proven, the company intends to roll out the technology to chemical industry customers world-wide.

The € 80 million investment round includes € 42 million in equity from new shareholders Invest-NL, Infinity Recycling, and Covestro AG (Leverkusen, Germany) , alongside existing shareholders Carduso Capital, NOM and Groninger Groeifonds, and others. Additional funding comprises of €15 million in debt financingfrom the Polestar Capital Circular Debt Fund and € 4 million from the Province of Groningen, a €14 million grant from the Dutch Government via RVO, and other subsidies. Invest-NL’s investment is partly backed by InvestEU, a European Commission program that supports initiatives aligned with EU policy priorities.

Covestro is investing a mid-single-digit million Euro amount. In addition to Covestro, the financial investors Invest-NL and Infinity Recycling are also involved in the project. Once operational, the demonstration plant will convert 20,000 tons of mixed plastic waste per year. Following successful upscaling of the technology over the past years, the demonstration plant is a crucial intermediate step for the technology to be implemented on an industrial scale.

“Our vision is to fully align with the circular economy and climate neutrality, and we are pursuing all innovative solutions that bring us closer to this goal,” says Thorsten Dreier, CTO of Covestro. “Chemical recycling can make a significant contribution to closing the loop and the BioBTX ICCP technology is a promising way of using waste to recover raw materials that we use in production.” Unlike other recycling technologies, this technology also makes mixed waste from different source materials suitable for the process.

Covestro has been cooperating with BioBTX for more than four years and, together with the company, has launched the EU-funded Circular Foam project, which is working on the recycling of rigid polyurethane foam using pyrolysis.

“We are pleased that we can contribute our expertise in the areas of application development, digital research and development and chemical recycling to the project and thus provide impetus for a new, Europe-wide circular ecosystem for plastic waste,” explains Torsten Heinemann, Head of Group Innovation and Sustainability at Covestro.

“With its participation in BioBTX and the construction of the demonstration plant, Covestro is enabling an important step towards a sustainable chemical industry,” says Ton Vries, CEO of BioBTX. “The production of renewable aromatics from plastic waste and biomass is a prerequisite for circular chemistry.”

The demonstration plant is scheduled to go into operation by early 2027.