INTERVIEW - Moldovan Seminte Nord Seeks Investors for $40 Mln Bioethanol Plant
Moldovan corn processor Seminte Nord is looking for investors in a $40 million (25.1 million euro) bioethanol production plant, the first in Moldova, which could ensure the country's energy security, a top company official said.
"Seminte Nord is looking for partners to build a plant, which will produce 40 million litres of bioethanol annually from renewable energy sources, like corn and wheat. Moldova has a considerable surplus of biomass, which could be used for bioethanol production," Seminte Nord deputy board chairman Valentin Budeanu told SeeNews in an interview.
Mainly agricultural Moldova imports most of its energy needs and has no oil or gas or bioenergy production facilities. Budeanu said that construction of this plant could ensure its energy security.
Bioethanol, used as a petrol substitute, is usually produced by fermenting fuel or energy crops, which are renewable sources, unlike finite oil and gas. The feedstocks for ethanol production vary by region, including sugar cane in Brazil, grain and corn in North America and grain and sugar beets in France. Bioethanol causes less air pollution and less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.
"The already existing production facilities that we have allow us to build the plant with less investments. Otherwise, the investments would be 50% higher," Budeanu said.
Seminte Nord, based in the northern town of Drochia, has its own grain warehouses with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes, a 6,000 tonnes storage tank for liquid fuel and four railway lines. The company's production facilities span an area of 14 hectares.
Budeanu added that the company also has local partners, experienced in the area of renewable energy. "Under our preliminary calculations, the investments in the plant will pay back in three years."
Seminte Nord, established in 1985, is one of the leading grain processor in Moldova. Its capacity exceeds 10,000 tonnes of corn per year. The company subcontracts about 80 farmers to cultivate over 60,000 tonnes of corn annually.
Dutch company EasEur Holding, which built the first oil terminal in Moldova in 2006 following a $27 million investment, said earlier it plans to build a biofuel plant, which will produce bioethanol from corn and wheat.