Clariant produces first commercial sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol at new plant in Podari, Romania

  • After construction completion in October 2021, the plant underwent a thorough commissioning process and has successfully started production
  • The offtake of the entire production has been contracted to global energy company Shell for several years
  • The flagship plant will process approx. 250000 tons of straw to produce approx. 50000 tons of cellulosic ethanol per annum
  • The production start at this first sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol plant proves the commercial viability of Clariant’s innovative technology and with that supports the licensing business strategy

Clariant, a focused, sustainable, and innovative specialty chemical company, today announced that it has produced the first commercial cellulosic ethanol at its sunliquid® production plant in Podari, Romania1. The entire offtake is contracted with a multi-year agreement to Shell, a leading global energy company. Over the last six months, the plant underwent a thorough commissioning process resulting in the successful start of production. Approximately 50,000 tons of second-generation biofuels will be derived from 250,000 tons of locally sourced agricultural residues. The cellulosic ethanol produced at this plant can be applied as a drop-in solution for fuel blending but also offers further downstream application opportunities for sustainable aviation fuel and bio-based chemicals.

“Protecting the climate is a central part of our purpose ‘Greater chemistry – between people and planet’,” said Conrad Keijzer, Chief Executive Officer at Clariant. “Biofuels and biochemicals made from agricultural waste play a crucial role, since they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To establish their use more widely, their commercial production and availability must be increased rapidly, which is why the successful start of our sunliquid® plant in Podari is so vital.”

Building a more sustainable future is at the core of what drives Clariant to develop innovative solutions. Christian Librera, Head of Business Line Biofuels & Derivatives added: “The advanced biofuel produced by the sunliquid® technology process supports the decarbonization of the transport sector by providing up to 120 % CO2 savings compared to fossil fuel. It is particularly encouraging to see that despite the global pandemic, we have successfully managed to start production in our flagship sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol plant on schedule. This proves that Clariant’s technology is commercially deployable and accelerates our licensing business strategy. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all colleagues and partners involved.”

Shell aims to be a material, profitable supplier of sustainable advanced low-carbon fuels as part of its wider work to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

“Low-carbon fuels are essential for helping our customers to decarbonize their businesses,” said Geoff Mansfield, General Manager for Low-Carbon Fuels at Shell Trading and Supply.

The plant in Podari, Romania, is built on a 10-hectare area and employs a workforce numbering approximately 100. Contracts have been signed with more than 300 local farmers to ensure the supply of the necessary feedstock.

Learn more about our sunliquid® technology here.

¹The project receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 322386 (SUNLIQUID) and from the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement no. 709606 (LIGNOFLAG).

www.clariant.com