M&G Chemicals announced that has entered into a Sino-foreign joint venture with Anhui Guozhen CO, Ltd. The new company – Anhui M&G Guozhen Green Refinery CO, Ltd – will employ Proesa technology licensed by Beta Renewables to convert 970,000-1,300,000 metric tons per year of agricultural residues into cellulosic ethanol, glycols and by-products such as lignin in Fuyang City (Anhui Province, PRC).
The biomass will be supplied by Guozhen under a long term fixed price agreement, and the enzymes needed for the conversion of the biomass will be supplied by Novozymes as earlier announced.
The two companies further expect to soon announce the creation of a second JV, to convert the lignin into steam and electricity.
Proesa belongs to the so-called “second-generation” technologies which allow the use of the sugars present in lignocellulosic biomass to obtain fuel and other chemicals with lower greenhouse gas emissions and at competitive costs compared to fossil fuels (oil, natural gas). It is the result of an investment of over 150 million Euro, started by Biochemtex in 2006.
The Proesa technology was designed to use non-food biomass, like rice straw and sugarcane bagasse. Thanks to the efficiency of the Proesa process, non food sugars can be obtained at competitive costs and without incentives, thus enabling a widely spread use of bio-products from renewable sources.
Extensive agronomic studies have been conducted for the development of this technology, accompanied by a logistics modelling. Before being applied for the first time in Crescentino (Italy), the first commercial facility in the world for the production of second-generation ethanol, Proesa was tested at length in the Rivalta Scrivia (Alessandria) pilot plant, which boasts a capacity of 1t/day of biomass treated. The technology is protected by 14 patent families, 4 of which are public.
Beta Renewables is a leader in the field of advanced biofuels and biochemical compounds at competitive costs. It was established at the end of 2011 as a joint venture between Biochemtex, a company of the Mossi Ghisolfi Group, and the U.S. fund TPG (Texas Pacific Group) with a total investment of 250 million Euro (350 million dollars).
At the end of 2012, Novozymes – world leader in the enzymes industry – became a shareholder of Beta Renewables, with the acquisition of 10 percent of the shares, amounting to 90 million Euro.