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viernes, 3 de noviembre de 2017

Clariant gives the green light to the building of the LIGNOFLAG biorefinery in Romania

LIGNOFLAG (“Commercial flagship plant for bioethanol production involving a bio-based value chain built on lignocellulosic feedstock”) was one of the three flagship projects awarded under the call 2015 of the BBI JU (see BBI JU flagship projects - The new generation of European advanced biorefineries). According to the initial information (see CORDIS Project ID: 709606, last updated on 17/08/2017), the core part of the project would be a first-of-a-kind commercial flagship plant for lignocellulosic feedstock to ethanol conversion. It would serve to showcase the techno-economic viability of an innovative biorefinery concept based on Clariant’s technology.

On October 31, the Swiss company confirmed the approval of the investment in the new cellulosic ethanol plant and unveiled more details about it (see press release). The most relevant ones are summarized in the following table.

Southwestern part of Romania.
Feedstock and processing capacity
250.000 tons/year of wheat straw and other cereal straw.
They will be sourced from local farmers.
Products and production capacity
Cellulosic ethanol – 50 kton/year (initially, a capacity of 60 kton/year has been forecasted).
Sunliquid® from Clariant.
Ground breaking and start of construction planned for 2018.
The plant is anticipated to deliver its first batch of product in 2020.

After five years of operating a pre-commercial plant in Straubing (Germany), Clariant is ready to scale-up to the next level. The construction of that facility has also received funding from the European Union through the project SUNLIQUID (“sunliquid® large scale demonstration plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol”, FP7-ENERGY-2012-2). The technology is characterised by an integrated production of process specific enzymes and a simultaneous C5 and C6 sugars fermentation.

Figure 1. Clariant’s pre-commercial plant in Straubing (extracted from the website of the company)

In September this year, Clariant already announced the sign of the first technology license agreement with Enviral, a member of the Envien Group. Enviral has acquired a license to use sunliquid technology in a full scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues (see press release). This new facility will be owned and operated by Enviral and is planned to be integrated into the existing facilities at Enviral's Leopoldov site in Slovakia with an annual production capacity of 50 kton/year.

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