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World’s 'first' commercial second-generation bioethanol facility 'shuts down'

Crescentino panorama By Alessandro Vecchi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Crescentino panorama By Alessandro Vecchi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Local media are reporting that the Beta Renewables cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy has been shut down.

The €250 million ethanol refinery has the capacity to produce 40,000 tonnes of bioethanol per year, from around 270,000 tonnes of biomass. Established in 2011, it was the world’s first commercial scale bioethanol refinery.

Financial restructuring at US headquartered Group Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), who built and operated the facility, is behind the shutting down of the bioethanol plant.

“The court of Alessandria admitted Gruppo Mossi Ghisolfi companies to the “concordato preventivo” in accordance with article 161 sixth paragraph of the Bankruptcy Law,” reads a statement issued by Beta Renewables on 27 October.

“The court granted all companies a term of 120 days starting from 26 October 2017 for the filling of the proposal of the composition with creditors, with the exception of IBP srl for which the court granted a term of 60 days.”

This essentially means that the Beta Renewables biorefinery has just 60 days to present a restructuring plan to Italian authorities.

The 150,000m2 Crescentino biorefinery was established at the end of 2011 as a joint venture between M&G subsidiary Biochemtex and the Texas Pacific Group Fund. Late in 2012, Novozymes acquired 10% of the shares in Beta Renewables.

On 31 October, M&G filed for ‘Chapter 11’ of the US Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganisation under the country’s bankruptcy laws, in the District of Delaware, for 11 companies in its portfolio.

Crescentino panorama By Alessandro Vecchi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons