Eta Bio signs licence agreement with Clariant to build cellulosic ethanol plant

EnergyBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 3/2020 • 31.08.2020

A license agreement for the sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology has been signed on 27 July, 2020 between Clariant, a leading specialty chemical company focused on innovative and sustainable solutions, and Eta Bio, a family-owned business in the agricultural sector in Bulgaria.

The agreement includes a licence of a sunliquid basic engineering package, provision of technical services, supply of starter cultures from Clariant’s proprietary enzyme and yeast platform to process Eta Bio’s feedstock into cellulosic ethanol. The agreement marks the fourth signed license deal for Clariant’s technology.

Eta Bio will perform the project development and plant operation at a greenfield site in General Toshevo, the Northeastern region of Bulgaria, utilizing available family-owned land and existing infrastructure. The plant is planned to have an annual production capacity of 50 000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol, processing around 250 000 tonnes of wheat straw, which is an abundant resource in the region. The company belongs to the Pavlovi family that runs a leading business in the agricultural sector in Bulgaria and it has been established with the purpose to build, own and operate a full-scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues.

For Clariant, this agreement keeps the momentum for its innovative and sustainable sunliquid technology going and represents another significant step towards its commercialization. The technology is a trendsetter for the development of advanced biofuels, which meet the market needs for sustainable solutions and provide a competitive edge.

“The realization of the first Bulgarian cellulosic ethanol production project will help to solve one of the main challenges agricultural producers face in the region – the removal of the straw from the fields. This project will give us the chance to have an additional revenue stream from agricultural leftovers”, emphasized Kiril Pavlov, Managing Director of Eta Bio.

“We are excited to enter the renewable energy sector with this project and hence become a pioneer in the advanced biofuels market in Bulgaria. This undertaking will allow us to further diversify our business portfolio, as well as strengthen our position in the agricultural sector”, highlighted Hristo Pavlov, who co-manages the agricultural business of the group.

By using locally sourced feedstock, greenhouse gas savings can be maximized and additional business opportunities may arise along the entire value chain. For Bulgaria, this constitutes an essential investment in green, sustainable technologies. The produced cellulosic ethanol will be used as a gasoline additive to fulfil the country’s blending mandate for advanced biofuels, as laid out in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II.