Polish group goes for cellulosic ethanol

Polish group goes for cellulosic ethanol

The specialty chemicals company Clariant has won a second licensee for its biorefinery technology in the Polish petroleum group PKN Orlen.

Cellulose-Ethanol kann aus Weizen- oder Maisstroh hergestellt werden.
Cellulosic ethanol can be produced from wheat or corn straw.

The second generation of biofuels is produced from agricultural residues, such as grain straw or Chinese reed. The Swiss specialty chemicals group Clariant AG has developed sunliquid technology for this purpose, a biotechnological process in which cellulose-ethanol can be produced from plant residues. In Straubing, Bavaria, Clariant operates a demonstration plant for the lignocellulose biorefinery. This technology has now found a second licensee in PKN Orlen, a petroleum company that is particularly strong in Central Europe. The first was the Slovakian company Enviral in 2017.

Good profitability

"We are excited by the continued interest in our sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology and proud to have signed this second license agreement," said Clariant Chief Operating Officer Hans Bohnen. The sunliquid technology integrates the production of raw material- and process-specific enzymes and ensures good cost-effectiveness through the simultaneous fermentation of pentoses and hexoses.

Annual production of 25,000 tonnes

"We invest in modern technologies and focus on high-margin products, as they will be crucial to maintaining our leading position in the region in the coming years," says Daniel Obajtek from PKN Orlen's Board of Directors, explaining the decision. "At the same time, we do not forget about corporate social responsibility and we apply solutions that significantly mitigate our environmental impact". The new plant is to be built in Jedlicze, Poland, where it will be connected to an existing oil refinery. An annual production capacity of 25,000 metric tons of cellulosic ethanol is planned. In Western Europe, the Orlen Group is best known for its "Star" service station chain.