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Clariant bioethanol plant in Podari enters new phase
  • The investment made by Clariant in Podari is the largest ongoing one in the Craiova region
  • Over 800 new jobs will be created in the construction phase
  • Three other cellulosic bioethanol plants using Clariant sunliquid® technology in Europe

Craiova, October 24th, 2019 – Clariant, a focused and innovative specialty chemical company, commenced construction works at the cellulosic bioethanol plant in Podari, Dolj county – the largest ongoing investment in the Craiova region. When completed, this will be the fourth bioethanol plant based on the company’s technology portfolio using the sunliquid® technology, together with the ones in Germany, Poland and Slovakia. The Clariant cellulosic bioethanol plant in Podari will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons. The project will have an investment volume of over EUR 100 million, and will receive EUR 40 million funding from the European Union.

The new plant will be constructed on a 98,000 sqm area observing the highest technological standards, while paying close attention to the comfort and life of the local population. The civil constructor is a Romanian company, and the construction works will be involving a team of about 800 workers.

“With the construction phase, Clariant’s project in Podari has reached an important milestone. In parallel with the construction, we are in full preparation of the production, including farmers’ agreements and straw collection. We take pride in building a cellulosic ethanol plant at the highest standards that will have a significant positive impact at community level, bringing economic and social development for the region, while being extremely safe for the public health and the environment. The ultimate recognition of the performance of our technology and our commitment to safety is the European funding received”, stated Dragoş Gavriluţă, project director sunliquid® Romania.

Clariant’s office in Podari now has 11 employees, with hiring to continue in the upcoming period as the project evolves.

The innovation brought by the sunliquid® technology is that it uses straw, ecologically, as raw material for the production of bioethanol, instead of the grains, as in traditional fermentation processes. Furthermore, the sunliquid® technology has been validated through studies and trials conducted since 2006 and was awarded funding by the European Union in the frame of an innovation flagship project. The straw will be supplied by farmers in the Dolj area, based on long-term agreements.

Using the advanced biofuel produced by the Clariant plant will have a positive impact on climate change by significantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gas which is generated by the road traffic of vehicles using fossil fuels only. This will enable Romania to achieve the targets set by its national strategy regarding climate change and meet European requirements for the Energy/Climate Change Package.

sunliquid® – a sustainable and advanced biofuel
Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced, sustainable and practically carbon-neutral biofuel. It is produced from agricultural residue such as wheat straw and corn stover, which is supplied by farmers. The straw is converted into cellulosic sugars. This is followed by fermentation to produce cellulosic ethanol. By using plant residues, cellulosic ethanol can extend the current production of biofuels to new feedstock and contributes to optimizing the efficiency and sustainability of biofuels. Cellulosic sugars also have the potential to serve as a building block for future production of bio-based chemicals.

The sunliquid® technology offers a fully integrated process design built on established process technology. Innovative technology features such as chemical-free pre-treatment, the integrated production of feedstock and process-specific enzymes, and simultaneous C5 and C6 sugar fermentation ensure optimum cost-effectiveness.


Construction site in Podari (Photo: Clariant)

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