Clariant announces 4th license deal for sunliquid technology; first Bulgarian cellulosic ethanol project
Specialty chemical company Clariant and Eta Bio, a company of the Pavlovi family, running a leading business in the agricultural sector in Bulgaria, have signed a license agreement for Clariant’s sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology. The agreement marks the fourth signed license deal for Clariant’s sunliquid technology.
Eta Bio has been recently established with the purpose to construct, own and operate a full-scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues.
Eta Bio will perform the project development and plant operation at a greenfield site in General Toshevo, the Northeastern region of Bulgaria, utilizing available land, owned by the Pavlovi family, and existing infrastructure.
The annual production capacity is planned to be 50,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol, processing around 250,000 tons of wheat straw, which is an abundant resource in the region known as the granary of Bulgaria.
The realization of the first Bulgarian cellulosic ethanol production project will help to solve one of the main challenges agricultural producers face in the region—the removal of the straw from the fields. This project will give us the chance to have an additional revenue stream from agricultural leftovers.—Kiril Pavlov, Managing Director of Eta Bio
The sunliquid process developed by Clariant uses process-integrated enzyme production, optimized enzymes, simultaneous conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose into ethanol and an energy-efficient process design to overcome technological challenges and sufficiently reduce production costs in order to arrive at a commercially viable basis.
Since 2009, Clariant has been successfully operating a first pilot plant at its research facility in Munich. This pilot plant is capable of producing up to two tons of ethanol per year. Since July 2012, Clariant has been operating a pre-commercial plant in Straubing, which produces up to 1,000 metric tons of cellulosic ethanol every year. In the fall of 2018 Clariant also broke ground for its first-of-its-kind commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production plant in Podari, Romania.
By using locally sourced feedstock, greenhouse gas savings can be maximized and additional business opportunities along the entire value chain will arise.
The produced cellulosic ethanol will be used as a gasoline additive to fulfill the country’s blending mandate for advanced biofuels, as laid out in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II.
The project comprises the license of a sunliquid basic engineering package, the provision of technical services, as well as the supply of starter cultures from Clariant’s proprietary enzyme and yeast platform to process Eta Bio’s feedstock into cellulosic ethanol.