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EU Project LIGNOFLAG: Sustainable Production of Cellulosic Ethanol

The building of the sunliquid® plant is co-funded by the FP7 SUNLIQUID project and the BBI-JU LIGNOFLAG project. The SUNLIQUID project is focusing on the part of the value chain covering the conversion of the lignocellulosic feedstock to sugars. This part of the process includes activities aiming at selecting a suitable site for building the plant, ensuring feedstock availability, defining raw material logistics as well as contracting local farmers and logistic providers. The LIGNOFLAG project is concentrating on the a different part of the value chain, i.e. the conversion of sugars to cellulosic ethanol including co-product valorization and developing a commercialization strategy for cellulosic ethanol.

An important objective of the LIGNOFLAG project is to establish an energy self-sufficient, highly sustainable production process for cellulosic ethanol by using co-products for renewable energy production and soil fertilization. One of the co-product, the solid one, is lignin. It is used to produce steam and electricity, both of which are needed for the sunliquid® process. The liquid co-product, vinasse, can be used as a fertilizer and brought back to the field, thus providing a tangible exampstroh-zapfsaeulele of a circular economy.

With this new flagship plant, Clariant intends to demonstrate that the sunliquid® technology is ready for large-scale commercial application with a promising market potential and low investment risks. As Clariant will mainly focus on the distribution of the sunliquid® technology, the plant will give potential customers hands-on insight into the various steps of the production process and illustrate the advantages of the technology. With the experience gained by constructing and operating the sunliquid® plant in Romania, Clariant’s process design package will be further optimized. Future projects will benefit from this experience since new plants will be built faster and in an even more cost-efficient and sustainable way.

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

With a duration of five years, the LIGNOFLAG project receives a contribution of EUR 24.7 million from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 709606.

The LIGNOFLAG Consortium, with Clariant as a coordinator, consists of the following seven companies and research institutions from Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania:

  • Clariant Produkte (Deutschland) GmbH, Germany
  • Clariant Products Ro SRL, Romania
  • ExportHungary, Hungary
  • Fliegl Agrartechnik GmbH, Germany
  • Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (EI-JKU), Austria
  • Industrielle Biotechnologie Bayern Netzwerk GmbH (IBB), Germany
  • Bavarian Research Alliance GmbH (BayFOR), Germany

The expertise offered by the consortium meets the requirements of a complex flagship project with the focus on demonstrating the technological as well as the economic viability of cellulosic ethanol and its co-products. Please find here a description of the main tasks of each of the project partners.

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