New German pilot plant for cellulose ethanol advance initiated

A new pilot plant for the production of climate-friendly cellulose ethanol in Germany has been inaugurated.

Developed by Swiss chemicals company Clariant, the €28 million ($33.8 million) project will produce up to 1,000 tonnes of cellulose ethanol from around 4,500 tonnes of wheat straw. It is believed that Germany has around 22 million tonnes of available straw for use that wouldn’t compromise soil regeneration.

The plant will be located in Straubing and has been supported by the Bavarian government and the Federal ministry for Education and Research.

‘The inauguration of the new plant marks an important milestone in the production of a climate-friendly biofuel that can also be used as a raw material for the chemical industry,’ says Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann.

And Bavarian economics minister Martin Zeil believes the right choice has been made in terms of the plant’s location: ‘We don’t just have the raw material available but above all also the necessary scientific backup in the form of both university and non-university research facilities. If we can make the breakthrough here, it will create a raft of new options in terms of jobs and earnings potential in what is essentially a rural area. And, from a global perspective, there’s no ‘food or fuel’ issue when plant waste is recycled.’

It has been claimed that the proposed amount of produced cellulose ethanol from the plant would cover around 25% of Germany’s current gasoline requirements.

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