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Clariant, Anhui Guozhen and Chemtex announce license agreement on sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology in China

Switzerland-headed specialty chemical major Clariant AG and Anhui Guozhen Group, a Chinese green energy company, and Chemtex Chemical Engineering, a multinational engineering company, have signed a license agreement regarding Clariant's "sunliquid" cellulosic ethanol technology.

The signing on January 6, 2020, of the first license agreement for Clariant’s “sunliquid” cellulosic ethanol technology in China. In the first row Sean Ma (left) Chemtex, Li Yonghua of Anhui Guozhen and Markus Rarbach, Clariant. Standing Liu Yujian (left), Vice Mayor of Fuyang City; Sun Zhengdong, Mayor of Fuyang City; Li Wei, Chairman of Anhui Guozhen Group and Qu Xiujie, Deputy Director of Fuyang Economic Development Zone (photo courtesy Clariant).

The Anhui Guozhen Group and Chemtex have agreed to form a joint venture with the aim of realizing a full-scale commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues. In this framework, Clariant has granted a license for its sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology to the joint venture.

The project development and plant operation will be executed by the joint venture at a greenfield site in Fuyang city in the Anhui province, in the Yangtze-Huai River region in East China, utilizing available land, owned by the Anhui Guozhen Group, and existing infrastructure network in the surrounding.

Guozhen intends to be a pioneer and invest in the first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in China. We are looking forward to working with Clariant and Chemtex, two well-experienced companies to contribute to China’s environmental and ecological advance, said Li Wei, Founder, and Chairman of the Board of Guozhen Group.

Up to 100 000 tonnes per annum of cellulosic ethanol

The annual plant production capacity is planned to be 50 000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol, with an option to double the capacity in a second phase – 50 000 tonnes in each phase, making it one of the largest in China so far. Detailed project evaluations and preparations for the engineering phase are well underway. The project execution is pending a final agreement of certain government contracts for the project.

For Clariant, China represents a core growth market where we want to further strengthen our position. The country is aiming to achieve a 10 percent bioethanol content in transportation fuels nationwide in the next few years. These regulatory commitments offer substantial growth potential for our sunliquid technology by spurring demand for advanced biofuels. Hence, the signing of a sunliquid technology license with two renowned Chinese players is an important strategic milestone to seize those promising business opportunities, said Hans Bohnen, CEO of Clariant.

For the Anhui region, this signifies a noteworthy investment in green, sustainable technologies. The area is very much characterized by agriculture, which guarantees the abundance of feedstock for the cellulosic ethanol plant. By locally sourced feedstock, in that case wheat straw and corn stover, greenhouse gas (GHG) savings can be maximized and additional business opportunities along the entire value and supply chain will arise.

As a global industrial solution provider in biofuels, chemicals, polymers, fibers and gas processing, Chemtex has extensive experience in partnering with reputed technology licensors particularly in the Chinese market. Through these partnerships, Chemtex gained significant knowledge worldwide in first-generation and cellulosic ethanol projects. In China, we have been active for more than 40 years and realized over 100 plants. This experience will make a major contribution to the collaboration between Anhui Guozhen, Clariant and Chemtex for the first Chinese commercial cellulosic ethanol project to succeed, said Sean Ma, Chairman, and CEO of Chemtex.

The produced cellulosic ethanol will be utilized in the Chinese regional fuel market as blend into gasoline to fulfill the national blending mandate. Cellulosic ethanol produced with sunliquid technology saves around 95 percent of GHG’s compared to conventional gasoline.

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