The companies formed a partnership in 2014 to jointly work on a technology using cyanobacteria that mimic the way plants use photosynthesis to produce chemical building blocks such as 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.
"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,” said Marco Waas, director RD&I and Technology - Industrial Chemicals at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals.
Added Véronique de Bruijn, CEO of Photanol BV: "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.
"This is the next step in our partnership, where Photanol will ultimately produce a new and low-cost intermediate for one of our businesses,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, chief technology officer of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. “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."