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GranBio and NextChem partner to develop cellulosic ethanol markets

Brazil-headed industrial biotechnology provider GranBio Investimentos (GranBio) and Italy-headed renewable energy technology portfolio developer NextChem Srl, a Maire Tecnimont S.p.A subsidiary have recently announced a strategic partnership to achieve global leadership in the licensing of patented GranBio 2G Ethanol technology to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Commissioned in 2014, GranBio’s BioFlex 1 is located in the municipality of São Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas, close to the Port of Maceió. Using sugarcane bagasse it has the capacity to produce 60 million liters of cellulosic ethanol per annum making it the largest second-generation facility in the Southern Hemisphere (photo courtesy GranBio).

GranBio’s 2G Ethanol technology converts lignocellulosic, non-food biomass to renewable, low carbon intensity biofuels. NextChem is partnering with GranBio to license this technology worldwide.

The alliance combines GranBio’s technology and knowledge in second-generation biomass and biofuels with NextChem’s engineering intelligence, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capabilities, and global presence, to offer integrated services, feasibility studies, integration projects, engineering and construction of manufacturing plants around the world.

We will be pioneers in this business model, leading the development of the cellulosic ethanol industry globally. Some countries already recognize the renewable carbon premium; our flexible method allows the use of all types of agricultural waste and energy crops as feedstocks, such as cane straw, miscanthus, and corn stover, and even leftover wood such as pine and eucalyptus. With the alliance with NextChem, we have the ambition to conquer a significant share of the available market: we have the security and reliability that our technology is very promising, said Paulo Nigro, CEO of GranBio.

The technology developed by GranBio to produce 2G ethanol from sugarcane bagasse has already been implemented in its BioFlex 1 biorefinery located in São Miguel dos Campos, in Alagoas. The first and largest in the Southern Hemisphere dedicated to cellulosic ethanol, it began operations in 2014.

This partnership with GranBio improves our technological portfolio in biofuels with a flexible and profitable solution to produce ethanol, a globally used chemical with many established industrial applications, and enormous potential. GranBio’s reference plant is the only one of this kind, on an industrial scale, in operation at a worldwide level. We are confident in a winning solution that we shall be able to industrialize everywhere, thanks to our worldwide presence and engineering capabilities, said Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of NextChem and Maire Tecnimont.

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