Swiss specialty chemical company Clariant is constructing its first large-scale commercial cellulosic bioethanol plant that will use agricultural residues as feedstock in Podari, southwestern Romania. The ground breaking for the plant took place in September 2018.
Once operational, the plant, which will be fully operational from 2020, will process 250,000 tons of straw and will produce 50,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol each year. The first-of-its-kind facility will generate new jobs, business opportunities, and economic growth in a rural area. On the industrial platform, Clariant intends to create around 100 direct jobs in the long term. In addition, about 300 jobs can be created in connected businesses, e.g., the collection, storage, and transportation of straw.
Clariant is investing more than EUR100 million (USD112 million) in its first-of-its-kind sunliquid® plant. The project received more than EUR40 million (USD45 million) in funding from the European Union.
The decision to build the plant in Podari was due to the existence of a secure regional supply of feedstock and the region’s existing logistics and industrial infrastructure.
The sunliquid® technology offers a fully integrated process design built on established process technology. Innovative technology features such as chemical-free pre-treatment, the integrated production of feedstock-and process-specific enzymes, and simultaneous C5 and C6 fermentation ensure optimum cost-effectiveness.
Clariant has a demonstration plant in Straubing, Germany, where the business research and development center for the project is located. Since 2012, Clariant has been operating the demonstration plant, producing up to 1,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol, where the process has been tested and validated.