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Cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues - Think ahead, think sunliquid
A shortage of fossil resources, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, environmental protection – these are the issues concerning us today in the energy sector. Alternative sources of energy must be found to reduce our dependence on oil. In the European Union, the US and other major economic areas, politicians have laid down basic frameworks to promote the use of climate-friendly biofuels.

For some time now, many companies have shown a growing interest in the production of ethanol from renewable lignocellulosic resources, such as agricultural residues. These resources do not compete with food and feed crops, but are created in sufficient quantities worldwide more or less as a by-product, as in the case of straw from cereal production. As yet, it has not however been possible to successfully develop a cellulosic ethanol process that is also economically profitable.

The sunliquid® process developed by Clariant meets all the requirements of a technically and economically efficient, innovative process for converting agricultural residues into climate-friendly biofuel. Using process-integrated enzyme production, optimised enzymes, simultaneous conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose into ethanol and an energy-efficient process design, it has been possible to sufficiently reduce production costs in order to arrive at a commercially viable basis.

Since 2009, Clariant has been successfully operating a first pilot plant at its research facility in Munich. This pilot plant is capable of producing up to two tons of ethanol per year. In July 2012, Germany´s largest plant to date started into operation in Straubing – a demonstration project with an annual capacity of up to 1,000 tons of ethanol.
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