CHINA - M&G Chemicals has announced plans to construct a second-generation bio-refinery in the region of Fuyang, Anhui Province of China for the conversion of one million metric tons of biomass into bio-ethanol and bio-glycols.
The plant, which is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately US$500 million, is expected to be brought on stream in mid 2015.
According to M&G Chemicals CEO Marco Ghisolfi, this investment will enable the PET resin producer to enter the “green revolution” and supply both the PET beverage packaging and polyester textile sectors: “This is the first act of a green revolution that M&G Chemicals is bringing to the polyester chain to provide environmental sustainability to both PET beverage packaging and polyester textile.
“The timing and scope of our green polyester revolution and our manufacturing entry in China from the green PET raw materials avenue is even more relevant considering The Coca-Cola Company has announced plans to use PlantBottle packaging, which is partially made from plants, for all of their PET plastic bottles across the globe by 2020,” added Ghisolfi.
The project will be conducted through a joint-venture with Chinese company Guozhen Group which will make available one million metric tons of straw biomass and use the lignin resulting as a by-product from the bio-refinery to feed a 45 MW cogeneration plant which will be constructed at the same time as the bio-refinery in the same site. M&G Chemicals will be majority partner of the bio-refinery and minority partner of the power plant.
The bio-refinery will employ PROESA technology licensed from Beta Renewables, a joint venture between Biochemtex (a company belonging to the M&G’s parent company, Mossi Ghisolfi Group), US private equity fund TPG and Danish enzyme producer Novozymes.
The second-generation bio-refinery will be approximately four times the size (measured by volume of biomass processed) of that built by Beta Renewables in Crescentino, Italy, which was recently inaugurated.
Necessary enzymes will be supplied by Novozymes, one of the world’s largest enzymes producers and one of the partners in the Beta Renewables joint venture, which owns the rights of the PROESA technology. Novozymes has the world's largest enzyme fermentation facility in Tianjin, China.
By locating the facility in Fuyang City - a large agricultural region in northwest Anhui province – M&G Chemicals will be close to the city’s crop planting area of up to 1.2 million hectares with 6 MMt/y of straw biomass available, making transportation easier. The city authorities have also announced that they will provide full support to biomass collection, site selection, and land acquisition with incentive policies.
“M&G Chemicals is today taking a big step towards a bio-based society where biomass is used for products like fuel, chemicals and plastics,” said Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development in Novozymes. “We are incredibly excited to enable M&G Chemicals’ vision of producing bio-plastics on a commercial scale and are looking forward to the long-term collaboration.”
“Guozhen is experienced in biomass collections and logistics; and M&G Chemicals owns the proven cutting-edge technology. Our cooperation will open a new era of biomass utilization and provide an effective solution for the full exploitation of biomass to tackle Chinese energy demand and environmental issues,” commented Li Wei, Chairman of Guozhen Group.
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