Novozymes, Mossi & Ghisolfi plan cellulosic ethanol plant for 2012

12 April 2011 11:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Italian polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) and Denmark’s Novozymes will build the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, the Danish company said on Tuesday.

The facility, in Crescentino, near Turin, northern Italy, will produce 13m imperial gallons/year (59m litres/year) of cellulosic ethanol using biomass, Novozymes added.

It said the plant would be 10 times larger than any current cellulosic ethanol facility, and is designed to operate on a multitude of cellulosic feedstocks. Production is expected to start in 2012 and the plant will employ about 100 staff.

“This plant proves cellulosic bioethanol can be produced in a sustainable manner for the environment and for the industry,” Vittorio Ghisolfi, President of M&G, said. 

He said research would not stop there, adding: “We are assessing bio-based substitutes for a range of other petrochemical products and chemical intermediates.”

Novozymes, an industrial enzyme producer and key partner in the project, will supply enzymes for the plant.

Cellulosic ethanol is produced from biomass such as wheat straw, corn stover (maize leaves and stalks), municipal waste and energy crops, which are broken down into a pulp. Enzymes are then added, turning cellulose in the biomass into sugar which can be fermented into ethanol.

The plant will be self-sufficient power-wise by burning lignin, extracted from biomass during ethanol production.

Poul Ruben Andersen, Global Marketing Director at Novozymes, hailed the “dawn of a new green era”.

“M&G proves there is a cure for the world’s addiction to fossil fuels,” he said. “Biofuel made from lignocellulosic biomass is no longer a distant pipe dream. The technology is ready and plants will be built and run on commercial scale, offering a compelling alternative to conventional gasoline,” he added.

The price of the plant’s ethanol would be competitive with gasoline, Novozymes said.

For more on ethanol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Tanzeel Akhtar
+44 208 652 3214

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