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Sekab and Vertoro to build large-scale demo plant to produce “Goldilocks”

A new large-scale plant in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden will be the first in the world to demonstrate a second-generation (2G) platform for the production of renewable and sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials, from pulp and paper industry residues. The demo plant will be built by the Swedish chemical and cleantech company Sekab together with the Dutch oil company Vertoro b.v.

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Vertoro and Sekab are partnering to build a large-scale demonstration plant in Sweden for the production of “Goldilocks”, a proprietary lignin-ethanol oil (LEO) blend suitable for use as a marine biofuel – Michael Boot (left) Ventoro and Monica Normark, Sekab (photo courtesy Sekab).

Sekab and Vertoro have begun the construction of a demonstration facility in Örnsköldsvik. In the plant, biomass, lignin, or residues from the pulp and paper industry will be converted into “Goldilocks”, a proprietary blend of ethanol and soluble lignin oligomers, which the companies say is unique in the world.

In existing plants, only one type of biofuel can be produced, while bio-based crude oil can be refined into a variety of biofuels, biochemicals, and biomaterials in already existing oil refineries and petrochemical plants.

We need to break dependence on fossil oil and with our technology, we can use renewable raw materials to replace crude oil-based products. This European cooperation is an important step in the development of a fossil-free society, said Tomas Nilsson, CEO of Sekab.

Production is expected to start in about a year and deliver biofuel to the shipping sector as a first off-take for this lignin-ethanol oil (LEO) product.

Shipping today consumes over 300 million tonnes of fossil fuels per annum, which produce large climate-impacting emissions. That’s why we are starting with shipping, but the same technology can be used to produce biofuels for both aviation and cars, as well as bio-based chemicals, said Adnan Cavka, Chief Technology and Business Development Officer at Sekab.

Shipping accounts for 2-3 percent of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. If left unchecked this could grow to 15 percent of global emissions by 2050.

Considered to be one of the UN’s ‘hard to abate’ sectors, transitioning away from fossil fuels will require scale, investment, and inexpensive low-carbon solutions. Today about 90 percent of Swedish imports and exports are currently transported via shipping.

Global challenges require global solutions. In this collaboration, two European companies join forces to drive a green revolution in the world by developing a cost-effective platform to produce sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, chemicals and materials, said Michael Boot, CEO of Vertoro.

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