BUCHAREST (Romania), September 13 (SeeNews) - Switzerland-based specialty chemicals company Clariant has started the construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant near the city of Craiova, in southern Romania, it said.
The ethanol will be obtained from agricultural residues using Clariant's sunliquid technology, a registered trademark of the company, Clariant said in a press release on Wednesday.
The size of the investment was not disclosed.
"After more than a decade of research and development, Clariant has invested more than 100 million euro in its first sunliquid plant, a pioneering technology not only in Europe but also at a global level. Moreover, in cooperation with European and national institutions, Clariant supports the industrial transformation of a region through this significant investment," Christian Kohlpaintner, member of Clariant's executive committee, said.
Construction of the production unit will provide a range of benefits for the region in the vicinity of Craiova, by allowing local farmers to market for the first time industrial straw, which was previously unusable agricultural residue.
Also, the construction phase of the factory will provide work for several hundred workers from local construction companies.
Once completed, the plant is expected to provide approximately 300 permanent jobs for the collateral industries serving the unit as well as for the transport and storage of raw materials. The factory will have 100 to 120 employees. Clariant intends to recruit the local workforce by providing training in its own laboratories in Planegg, near Munich, and in the factory in Straubing, Bavaria.
At its full capacity, the plant will process about 250,000 tons of wheat straw and other cereals from local farmers, resulting annually in 50,000 tons of cellulosic ethanol. The products resulting from this process will be used to produce renewable energy so that the plant will be able to operate independently of fossil fuels. Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced biofuel with a carbon neutral impact.
Clariant said it chose the Podari area near Craiova as a location for the new plant due to the existence of a safe source of supplies of raw materials as well as to the logistical and industrial infrastructure in the region.
Clariant first announced the investment in October last year.
In August 2016, Romania's finance ministry said that Clariant had requested a 68 million lei ($17 million/ 15 million euro) state aid for its plant in Romania. In January 2017, the ministry denied Clariant's request.
Clariant is a speciality chemicals company, formed in 1995 as a spin-off from Sandoz. Headquartered near Basel, Switzerland, the public company encompasses 110 operating companies in 53 countries, with manufacturing sites located in Europe, North America, South America, China and India.
(1 euro =4.6393 Romanian lei)