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Süd-Chemie and The Linde Group Launch Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant in Munich

Süd-Chemie AG, a leading manufacturer of catalysts and adsorbents, and The Linde Group, a leading global company in the sector of gases and engineering, have opened a pilot plant for the production of bioethanol from cereal straw. The two companies had agreed in 2008 to co-operate on an exclusive basis to develop and market plants for the production of second-generation biofuels. (Earlier post.)

The plant, located at Süd-Chemie’s research center in Munich-Obersendling, will manufacture up to two tons of bioethanol fuel annually. The pilot plant now opened represents a scaled-down version of the entire integrated manufacturing process required to convert straw into bioethanol. Construction of a larger demonstration plant producing several thousand tons of bioethanol each year is due to commence in the near future.

In the second-generation process, feedstock undergoes steam pre-treatment, with the water used for the steam being recaptured and recycled. The feedstock then undergoes enzymatic saccharification. A filter removes remaining solids and the hydrolyzate is then fermented to produce the ethanol.

Süd-Chemie´s expertise lies in the sectors of biocatalysis and bioprocess engineering, and Linde’s subsidiary, Linde-KCA-Dresden, offers extensive experience in implementing chemical and biotechnological processes on a commercial scale.

The start-up of this pilot plant demonstrates the systematic implementation of Süd-Chemie’s strategy of developing sustainable and ecological manufacturing processes for climate-friendly biofuels to market maturity in an economically efficient manner, based on our considerable expertise in the fields of biocatalysis and bioprocess engineering.

—Edgar Binnemann, Member of the Managing Board and CFO of Süd-Chemie AG


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