Clariant build flagship cellulosic ethanol plant in Romania

Clariant to build flagship cellulosic ethanol plant in Romania

9:58 AM, 2nd November 2017
Clariant headquaters
Clariant International headquarters building in Muttenz, Switzerland. (File photo)

MUTTENZ, SWITZERLAND: Clariant said that its board of directors has approved the investment in a new full-scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues using its sunliquid technology.

The new plant, with an annual production capacity of 50.000 tonnes, will be built in the southwestern part of Romania. The facility will be a flagship site, confirming competitiveness and sustainability of the sunliquid technology at commercial scale thus supporting Clariant's sunliquid licensing business strategy.

To further focus on the commercialization of bio-ethanol, licenses and enzymes, Clariant has set-up a new business line biofuels & derivatives, as part of the business area catalysis. As of January 2018, all activities and costs related to the sunliquid technology platform will be transferred from corporate costs to the business line biofuels & derivatives.

Next steps are detailed engineering studies before the ground breaking and start of construction, which is planned for 2018. The plant is anticipated to deliver its first batch of product in 2020. Peak sales from the sunliquid cellulosic ethanol plant are expected to be in the mid double-digit million range. This achievement is part of and results from Clariant's biotechnology innovation expertise.

At full capacity, the new plant will process approximately 250.000 tonnes of wheat straw and other cereal straw annually, which will be sourced from local farmers. Co-products from the process will be used for the generation of renewable energy with the goal of making the plant independent from fossil energy sources. Therefore, the resulting cellulosic ethanol is an almost carbon neutral advanced biofuel.

The sunliquid technology offers a completely integrated process design built on established process technology. Innovative technology features like the integrated production of feedstock and process specific enzymes and simultaneous C5 and C6 sugars fermentation ensure best in class commercial performance.

"Clariant is continually investing in the development of sustainable products and innovative solutions such as sunliquid. This pioneering process demonstrates the production of efficient and sustainable advanced biofuels and has great potential as a technology platform for a variety of bio-based materials. It is a further illustration 0f Clariant's successful innovation strategy, as this technology provides additional growth potential to an already strong portfolio," said Christian Kohlpaintner, member of the executive committee at Clariant.

"After five years of operating our pre-commercial sunliquid plant in Straubing, Germany, and thorough process demonstration we are now ready to scale-up to the next level. It is the next big step into an attractive market and a significant advancement in the successful commercialization of this highly innovative and sustainable technology," added Markus Rarbach, head of start-up business biofuels & derivatives at Clariant.

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