Basel, Switzerland-based specialty chemicals giant Clariant is planning a 50,000-tonne-per-year production plant in Romania to produce cellulosic ethanol from farm residues using its sunliquid conversion process.
Construction is slated to begin next year, and the company expects the plant to go into production in 2020, Biofuels Digest reports.
Markus Rarbach, Clariant’s head of start-up business biofuels and derivatives, called the announcement “the next big step into an attractive market, and a significant advancement in the successful commercialization of this highly innovative and sustainable technology.”
Once it reaches full capacity, the plant “will process approximately 250,000 tons of wheat straw and other cereal straw annually, which will be sourced from local farmers,” Biofuels Digest notes. “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.”
Although the story contains no detail on emissions across the life cycle of the plant’s feedstock, BD Editor Jim Lane says the output from the Romanian plant will be “an almost carbon neutral advanced biofuel.” He adds that a Clariant facility in Brazil has already cut its carbon dioxide emissions by about 90%, using its own E95 ethanol blend.
The sunliquid 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,” said Christian Kohlpaintner, a member of the Clariant executive committee.