In Tecnon OrbiChem’s October Bio-Materials report, I mentioned the near-term possibility of M&G licensing its biomass-based MEG technology using Beta Renewables’ PROESA after the companies, including Novozymes, started operations of their joint venture cellulosic ethanol facility in Crescentino, Italy, last month.
I didn’t realize it would be sooner as M&G announced today its decision to construct a $500 million second generation biorefinery in the region of Fuyang, Anhui Province of China, to convert one million metric tons of straw biomass into bio-ethanol and bio-glycols using the PROESA technology.
The project will be a joint venture with Chinese company Guozhen, which will supply the straw biomass, and use the lignin — a byproduct from the biorefinery — as feedstock for a 45 megawatt cogeneration plant to be built at the site. M&G Chemicals will be a majority partner of the biorefinery and minority partner of the power plant.
Guozhen said the biorefinery and power cogeneration project is the core part of the Biomass Utilization Park that the company plans to build in Fuyang City. Fuyang is reportedly rich in biomass resources, while Guozhen is said to be experienced in biomass collection and logistics.
The biorefinery will reportedly be four times the size of that built by Beta Renewables in Crescentino (measured by volume of biomass processed). The Crescentino facility is designed to produce 25m gal/year of cellulosic ethanol using a maximum biomass usage of 270,000 tons/year. The Crescentino facility is using Arundo Donax (giant cane) and agricultural waste such as wheat straw and rice straw for feedstock.
The biorefinery is expected to be brought on stream in mid-2015. Novozymes will supply the necessary enzymes. The crop planting area in Fuyang City is reportedly up to 1.2m hectares with six million tons/year of straw biomass available. The city of Fuyang is expected to provide full support to biomass collection, site selection, and land acquisition with incentive policies.
By the way, did you know that Biochemtex (the engineering company of Beta Renewables) designed the Greencol Taiwan’s 100 ktpa bio-MEG facility in Kaohsiung? Beta Renewables is presenting at the Ecochem conference this week and hopefully, the blog will be able to ask some questions.