Clariant inks first licence deal for cellulosic ethanol technology in China

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Specialty chemical company Clariant has signed a licence agreement with Anhui Guozhen Group, a Chinese green energy company, and Chemtex Chemical Engineering, for Clariant’s sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol technology.

Anhui Guozhen and Chemtex will form a joint venture with the aim of realising a full-scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste. Clariant has granted a licence for its technology to the joint venture.

The plant is expected to be constructed at a greenfield site in Fuyang city in China’s Anhui province, on land owned by Anhui Guozhen. The annual capacity of the plant is expected to be 50,000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol, with an option to double capacity at a later stage, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in China.

Detailed project evaluations and preparations for the engineering phase are currently ongoing, according to a statement from Clariant. Execution of the project is pending a final agreement of certain government contracts.

“For Clariant, China represents  core growth market where we want to further strengthen our position,” commented Hans Bohnen, COO of Clariant. “The country is aiming to achieve a 10% bioethanol content in transportation fuels nationwide in the next few years. These regulatory commitments offer substantial growth potential for our sunliquid technology by spurring demand for advanced biofuels.

“Hence, the signing of a sunliquid technology licence with two renowned Chinese players is an important strategic milestone to seize those promising business opportunities.”

Li Wei, founder and chairman of the Gouzhen Group board, added: “Gouzhen intends to be a pioneer and invest in the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in China. We are looking forward to working with Clariant and Chemtex, two well experienced companies to contribute to China’s environmental and ecological advance.”

“As a global industrial solution provider in biofuels, chemicals, polymers, fibres and gas processing, Chemtex has extensive experience in partnering with reputed technology licensors particularly in the Chinese market,” continued Sean Ma, chairman and CEO of Chemtex. “Through these partnerships Chemtex gained significant knowledge worldwide in first generation and cellulosic ethanol projects. In China, we have been active for more than 40 years and realised over 100 plants. This experience will make a major contribution to the collaboration between Anhui Guozhen, Clariant and Chemtex for the first Chinese commercial cellulosic ethanol project to succeed.”

The cellulosic ethanol produced at the plant will be used in the Chinese regional fuels market as a blend with gasoline, helping to fulfil the national blending mandate. Ethanol produced using Clariant’s sunliquid technology saves approximately 95% greenhouse gas emissions, compared to traditional gasoline.