Clariant expands feedstocks for demo plant

Specialty chemicals company Clariant will expand the raw materials used at its demonstration plant in Germany after new findings show that corn stover and sugarcane bagasse can also be used.

The company's demo plant is converting agricultural residues into bioethanol using its Sunliquid technology. Following the opening of the facility in July 2012, Clariant now has new findings which show that corn stover and sugarcane bagasse can also be converted efficiently in the process.

Corn stover is prevalent in North America, where 570 million tonnes of this plant residue are generated from the corn harvest every year. In Brazil, ethanol production could be increased by some 50% compared to current levels by using excess bagasse.

European wheat straw has primarily been used at the facility. As Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann explains: 'Expanding the technology to other raw materials represents an important milestone in the commercialisation of our Sunliquid process, extending it far beyond European boarders.'

The next step for Clariant will be the construction of a commercial production facility, with a capacity of some 50-150,000 tonnes per year, compared with around 1,000 tonnes at the existing pilot plant.

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