Swiss Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, and Enviral, the largest producer of bioethanol in Slovakia, have signed a license agreement on sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol technology.
Enviral has acquired a license to use Clariant’s sunliquid technology as part of its goal to realize a full scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant for the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues. This new plant 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 50,000 tons. It will use Clariant’s sunliquid technology as well as starter cultures from its proprietary enzyme and yeast platforms to process Enviral feedstock into cellulosic ethanol.
“We are excited to announce this first license deal for our sunliquid technology”, says Christian Kohlpaintner, Member of the Executive Committee at Clariant. “It marks our official entrance into the market and the successful commercialization of this highly innovative and sustainable technology. This step comes as a logical consequence 0f Clariant’s successful innovation strategy and will provide additional growth above and beyond Clariant’s current strong portfolio. Cellulosic ethanol has significant potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and we are proud in making it a reality.”
“Thanks to the cooperation with Clariant, the Slovak plant of Enviral will be one of the first plants in Europe to start commercial production of advanced biofuel. This exceptional project is the result of intensive work, searching for optimal solutions, as well as the successful technology validation carried out in Clariant ́s pre-commercial plant with biomass supplied from Slovakia. Now, thanks to the advanced technology, we can turn it into reality and help Slovakia meet the targets for advanced biofuels in the European Union,” says Matej Sabol, CEO of Enviral.
Clariant and Enviral conducted extensive tests of Enviral’s feedstock with Clariant’s technology to ensure effective and efficient compatibility. These tests, conducted at Clariant’s pre-commercial sunliquid demonstration plant in Straubing (Germany), provided excellent results and formed the basis for the project decision. Next steps are detailed engineering studies before the official ground breaking which is expected at the end of 2017.
As a further step in the commercialization of sunliquid, Clariant decided to set-up a new Business Line Biofuels, as part of the Business Area Catalysis, which is responsible for further developing the biofuels business across the board and report its performance.
Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced and truly sustainable biofuel which is almost carbon neutral. It is produced from agricultural residue such as wheat straw and corn stover that is obtained from farmers. By using agricultural residue, cellulosic ethanol can extend current biofuels production to new feedstocks and improved performance.
According to Clariant, “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 fermentation ensure best commercial performance”.