The transport sector has one of the highest growth rates worldwide implying a significant impact on the fuel demand and level of CO2 emissions. The EU has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 % compared to 1990 levels by 2030. As transport alone is responsible for 20 % of GHG emissions in the European Union, the use of already available and cost-effective technologies for the production of advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol has to be encouraged as quickly as possible.
Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced, truly sustainable and carbon-neutral biofuel that can already be used in our existing car and energy infrastructure. It is produced from agricultural residues such as wheat straw, which are sourced from local farmers. The production of cellulosic ethanol leads to a CO2 reduction of up to 95 % compared to fossil fuels.
In October 2021, Clariant completed construction of a first-of-its-kind commercial-scale flagship plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues such as straw based on the sunliquid® technology. The plant with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol is located in Podari in the southwestern part of Romania.
The aim of the EU-funded project LIGNOFLAG is to optimize the efficiency and increase the production capacity of this plant, as well as to ensure a highly sustainable production process that uses co-products for renewable energy production and soil fertilization. Hence, LIGNOFLAG is supporting the EU in its efforts to reduce GHG emissions and thus accelerate the process of decarbonizing the transport sector.
The project intends to establish efficient collaboration between the relevant actors along the whole value chain – from co-products utilization and valorisation (e.g. vinasse as a fertilizer) to advanced bio-ethanol production and product and technology distribution. The new full-scale sunliquid® flagship plant will also create green jobs, especially in rural areas. In doing so, a new value chain will be established and support the transformation from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based, circular economy. The main objectives of the projects are:
- Establishing an energy self-sufficient, highly sustainable production process for cellulosic ethanol by using co-products for renewable energy production and soil fertilization. For more information, please click here.
- Optimizing and increasing efficiency of the production process. For more information, please click here.
- Defining a licensing model for the sunliquid® technology and showing its replication and growth potential for other areas in Romania and Europe. For more information, please click here.
- Developing a commercialisation strategy that includes distribution and marketing measures for cellulosic ethanol and the sunliquid® technology. For more information, please click here.