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INA requests strategic investment status for Sisak biorefinery project

Croatian oil and gas company INA dd, a member of the MOL Group has announced that it has submitted an application to the Ministry of the Economy and Entrepreneurship to grant its advanced ethanol biorefinery project at its Sisak oil refinery the status of a strategic investment project for the Republic of Croatia. The investment is estimated to be around EUR 250 million part of which is planned to be provided from the EU Innovation Fund.

Croatian oil and gas company INA dd, a member of the MOL Group has submitted an application to the Ministry of the Economy and Entrepreneurship to grant its EUR 250 million advanced ethanol biorefinery project at its Sisak oil refinery the status of a strategic investment project for the Republic of Croatia (photo courtesy INA).

The first steps in the construction of a plant for the production of second-generation bioethanol with a negative carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint at the Sisak refinery site which is located in the continental part of Croatia, nearly 60 km from Zagreb, have already been taken.

In February 2020, INA signed a license agreement with the French technology group Axens for its “Futurol” conversion technology and a basic design agreement while at the end of last year, a contract was signed with the Belgian company De Smet Engineers & Contractors for the basic design for auxiliary plants and the integration of the existing refinery infrastructure.

Miscanthus on disused farmland

In addition, two harvests of the energy crop Miscanthus have been carried out. The Miscanthus was planted by INA on a demonstration field in Rugvica near Zagreb, in cooperation with the Bc Institute. The biomass from the first harvest was sent for testing within the EU project GRowing Advanced Industrial Crops on marginal lands for biorEfineries (GRACE).

The results confirmed Miscanthus as a suitable feedstock for the production of second-generation bioethanol. The second Miscanthus on the demonstration farm in Rugvica was carried out in March this year, during which INA tested agricultural machinery of “renowned” EU manufacturers.

According to GRACE, Miscanthus is a genus with over 15 species. The most important for biomass production in Europe are Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus. The virtually only commercially available variety is Miscanthus x gigantheus, a natural, sterile hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus (photo courtesy GRACE).

For the purposes of establishing a raw material supply chain, investments in agriculture are estimated at EUR 50 million. For this, it is also planned to use funds from rural development funds, primarily for activities related to the establishment of plantations of the energy plant Miscanthus, which includes the activation of neglected agricultural land.

The development of the biorefinery project is in line with the company’s development guidelines and is proof of our commitment to the New Direction program. The location in Sisak is an important part of INA’s business, and all the activities we undertake are the preconditions that need to be achieved in order to be able to make a final investment decision. It is also important to note that the support of the EU and the Government of the Republic of Croatia are key prerequisites for the final implementation of this important project for the Republic of Croatia and INA, which with all its elements fits into the European Green Deal and European Energy Strategy, said Sándor Fasimon, President of the Board, INA.

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