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Joachim Merziger

Episode 29: Conversation with French start-up Afyren

In Episode 29 of F+L Webcast, we talk to Joachim Merziger, chief commercial officer for distribution and marketing, including for the lubricant sector, of the French start-up Afyren.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afyren started construction of a unique, low-carbon, zero-waste biorefinery to produce bio-based acids in Carling Saint-Avold in France’s Moselle region. The plant, called Afyren Neoxy, is a greenfield biorefinery in a brownfield chemical complex called Chemesis in eastern France. It is also located in an area where most of France’s sugar beets are produced. Afyren uses co-products of sugar beets to produce its bio-based acids.

The plant Afyren Neoxy, was inaugurated in September 2022 and is in the start-up process. Afyren Neoxy is 51% owned by Afyren and 49% by the Société de Projets Industriels (SPI), a fund managed by Bpifrance. Investment in Afyren Neoxy was EUR80 million (USD84 million).

In October 2021, the company launched an initial public offering (IPO) in Euronext Paris, raising EUR66 million (USD69 million), which it now plans to deploy to build a second and third plant somewhere in Southeast Asia and North America, and to conduct further research and development. In January 2023, Afyren announced a joint venture with Mitr Phol to build its second plant in Thailand, and its first overseas plant. The 70-30 joint venture is expected to start production of bio-based acids in 2025. By partnering with Mitr Phol, Afyren is securing long-term access to a sustainable raw material from the local sugarcane industry.

The company believes it can fill a void in the lubricant industry by supplying bio-based acids where traditionally fossil-based products are being used to produce esters, one of several synthetic base stocks that are used in the formulation of industrial, and to a certain extent, automotive products.

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