Biofuel production from agricultural residues

Chemistry is instrumental in advancing bio-economy and producing innovative bio-based materials such as biofuel that help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

For example, Clariant has developed the technically and commercially viable sunliquid® process for producing cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues. Until recently, agricultural residues were not considered as a viable feedstock for the large scale production of biofuels, since the structure of this material is difficult to break down by conventional methods. However, the process developed by the chemical industry managed to overcome technological challenges and reduce production costs, while producing almost carbon neutral advanced biofuels.

The technology allows to build production plants with an annual output of 50,000 to 150,000 tons of ethanol. In October 2021, Clariant completed the construction of its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Podari, Romania. Since then, the plant underwent a thorough commissioning process and has successfully started production in June 2022. The technology can convert different agricultural residues such as wheat straw, corn stover and sugarcane bagasse that are available globally in large quantities and do not compete with food and feed crops.

This cellulosic ethanol is a potential solution for fuel blending that can be applied in processes without any changes to the existing equipment. In addition, it also offers further application opportunities for sustainable aviation fuel and bio-based chemicals.

Associated SDG targets

SDG 12-ResponsibleConsumptionAndProduction
SDG Goal 13 Climate Action

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