Clariant taps pulp and paper expertise to potentially right the wrongs of cellulosic ethanol

April 01, 2020 | Case Study

As of 2020, there is approximately 32 million gallons per year (MGY) of cellulosic ethanol nameplate capacity that is online, a 10.6 MGY facility by Raizen and a 21 MGY facility by GranBio, both in Brazil. This is in stark contrast to the forecasts nearly a decade ago, when more than 800 MGY of announced projects were expected to come online by 2020. Several flagships projects, led by Poet-DSM, Abengoa, Beta Renewables, and DuPont, did in fact begin production, but all have since shuttered, leading to stagnant growth of the industry between 2016 and 2018 as project developers saw the technical and economic challenges. However, cellulosic ethanol is set to rebound with a second wave of companies introducing potentially improved biomass-to-sugar technologies, as nameplate capacity is expected to reach 600 MGY by 2025.

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