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Sekab’s industrial CelluAPP biorefinery project selected to apply for EIF funding

Swedish advanced biofuels and biochemicals process developer Sekab is one step closer in its ambition to build a commercial-scale forest residue-derived green chemicals plant based on its CelluAPP technology in Sweden. The company is among the 70 projects that have been selected by the EU Innovation Fund (EIF) and invited to submit a complete application for partial financing in stage two of the application process.

Sekab’s technology platform CelluAPP makes it possible to extract cellulose sugars and lignin from forest or agricultural residues, processing them into for instance biofuels or renewable chemical products. The technology can be used in new biorefineries, or to develop existing facilities.

In November 2020, Sekab revealed that it had initiated a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of building a commercial-scale forest residue-derived green chemicals plant somewhere in Sweden.

The plant would be based on Sekab’s proprietary CelluAPP technology platform that converts residual products such as sawdust into cellulosic ethanol and lignin. These platform products can be used directly as biofuels or used as green chemical components for other products.

Sekab’s commercial-scale plant plans are now one step closer as the project has been selected as one of 70 top-ranked projects selected to apply for funding from the EU Innovation Fund.

ETS funding GHG reduction innovation

The EU Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest funding programs for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies. A European Commission (EC) initiative to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from various sectors in Europe, it has been created to finance research up-scaling and innovation projects with the greatest potential to reduce the EU’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

With revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), the fund invests in innovation projects that are assessed by an expert panel and deemed to have the best potential to deliver climate benefits within their field.

The fund has some EUR 1 billion earmarked for investments in innovations in carbon capture, renewable energy, energy storage, and energy-intensive industries.

Sekab selected to apply

According to EIF, a total of 311 applications were received in its First Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects that closed on October 29, 2020. Of these, 70 projects have qualified for the next step in the process where a comprehensive, final application must be submitted.

Sekab’s project to build a production facility based on its unique and patented technology CelluAPP is one of the 70 projects that have been selected and invited to apply for funding.

“This is a milestone for our technology. The fact that independent experts consider it one of the most promising projects in Europe for contributing to climate change is really an acknowledgment for us. This will open many doors, both for the planning of our own facility and for others who want to invest in our technology elsewhere,” said Dr Monica Normark, Chief Technology Officer at Sekab on top of the Biorefinery Demoplant in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden (photo courtesy Sekab).

The award criteria include GHG emission avoidance, innovation potential, financial, technical, and operational maturity of the project. Out of a maximum score of 15 points, Sekab has received a total score of 11.75, which Sekab says is an “excellent result.”

Sekab will now submit the application for the second stage. The final results will be announced later this year when 23 projects will be selected for the first round of funding.

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