ORLEN Południe brings cellulosic ethanol to Poland, licenses Clariant’s sunliquid technology


From Poland, we have news that ORLEN Południe, a member of ORLEN Group, which is a leader in the fuels and energy markets and the largest player in Central and Eastern Europe, signed a license agreement for Clariant’s sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology.

The project

The license agreement enables ORLEN Południe to use Clariant’s sunliquid technology for the project development and plant operation it is planning to execute at its Jedlicze petroleum refinery site in southeastern Poland. Annual production capacity is expected to be 25,000 tons, around 7.5 million gallons.

The ORLEN backstory

For ORLEN Południe, the agreement supports the intention to realize a full scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues, which will further solidify the company’s position as a forerunner in the Polish biofuels and bio-component technologies.

We reported last December that PKN Orlen would begin producing HVO from used cooking oil and vegetable fats at its Płock and Litvínov in an effort to produce fuels to supply the demand it expects the Renewable Energy Directive II to drive. The company undertook a trial run of the HVO process in September thanks to EU funding under the Inno-Chem program. R&D into advanced biofuels as well as adapting logistics for biofuels are part of its RED II-driven growth plans.

We reported in December 2015 that PKN Orlen teamed with universities in Szczecin and Olsztyn to trial a mobile experimental station to produce algae for biodiesel production at its production plant in Płock using carbon-dioxide-rich gas coming from one of the refiner installations and post-production water. The universities will be involved in helping to choose the appropriate algae strains to use in the project. Its main objective is to develop a technology to make biocomponents from oil-producing algae and Baltic Sea diatoms at the refinery.

The Clariant backstory

In January, we reported that ExxonMobil teamed with REG and Clariant to evaluate waste-based cellulosic sugar production.

Also last September, we undertook a visit to Craiova, Romania and the first commercial groundbreaking for Clariant technology. More on that here.

Last September, we looked into Clariant cellulosic technology in a visit to Straubing, Germany and the sunliquid integrated pilot plant.

Here’s our 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Clariant’s sunliquid cellulosic technology.

The Bottom Line

What’s driving this in many ways is the revised EU Renewable Energy Directive, which didn’t have much love for first-generation ethanol but did set solid targets for advanced biofuels, and in Eastern Europe there has been far more interest in cellulosic ethanol than elsewhere to date in the EU sector. All that land and all that grain production, that’s the heart of it. In this case, ORLEN is no slouch either in terms of petroleum refining chops, so you have fairly optimal conditions here in a refinery for co-location, management expertise, and a technology already being commercialized in Eastern Europe.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“We are excited by the continued interest in our sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology and proud to have signed this second license agreement. It shows that our long-term strategic commitment to innovation and sustainability can deliver additional growth above and beyond Clariant’s current strong portfolio”, said Hans Bohnen, Clariant’s Chief Operating Officer.

“In line with our strategy, we consistently develop and strengthen the Group companies, including ORLEN Południe. We invest in modern technologies and focus on high-margin products, as they will be crucial to maintaining our leading position in the region in the coming years. At the same time, we do not forget about corporate social responsibility and we apply solutions that significantly mitigate our environmental impact,” said Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board.

More on the story.

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