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FD: €80m growth capital for circular firm BioBTX

Published: 4 June 2024

Government fund Invest-NL is one of the investors backing the Groningen-based company which will use the funds to build a new factory in the northern Dutch city of Delfzijl.

Plastic waste
BioBTX turns plastic waste and biomass into aromatics, which can be used in PET bottles, batteries and insulating materials as an alternative to petroleum-based substances | Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

BioBTX makes circular alternatives to basic chemicals, including benzene. Among others, government fund Invest-NL is participating in the investment round alongside several private capital providers. The province of Groningen and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) are also involved.

The deal is remarkable because many circular companies struggle to find funding due to their experimental business models and techniques. BioBTX chief executive officer Ton Vries is therefore happy with the financing: “It took almost two years to get everything in place, but now we have all the right parties at the table. So we have enough money to push the project all the way through.”

Fossil alternative

With the funding, BioBTX aims to build its first commercial-scale plant. The new plant should initially be able to process around 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste, mainly from the region. The site offers the possibility of expanding to 50,000 tonnes over time. The company expects the plant to be operational by the end of 2026.

BioBTX can turn plastic waste and biomass into aromatics. This is a group of chemicals that are currently extracted almost exclusively from petroleum. Those substances eventually end up in all kinds of products, including PET bottles, batteries and insulating materials. Many companies are looking for non-fossil replacements. “It is therefore not surprising that we already have buyers for more than 50% of the production of our new plant,” said Vries.

Eventually, the company hopes to have factories like the one in Delfzijl all over the world. It does not plan to build all of these itself. Vries: “We are betting on a licensing model. We want to sell our technology to the big chemical companies.”

This article originally appeared in Dutch business newspaper FD on 3 June 2024.

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