The bio-refinery, in Anhui province, Eastern China, will process 1m metric tons of biomass per year and produce mono-ethylene glycol (MEG).
MEG is used in the production of synthetic polyester fibers and as one of two main components in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production.
The Coca-Cola Company
Marco Ghisolfi, CEO, M&G Chemicals said the timing for the project in China from the green PET raw materials aspect is even more relevant considering The Coca-Cola Company has announced plans to use PlantBottle packaging, which is partially made from plants, for all their PET plastic bottles by 2020.
“This is the first act of a green revolution that M&G Chemicals is bringing to the polyester chain to provide environmental sustainability to both PET beverage packaging and polyester textile,” he added.
A future bio-based society
Thomas Videbæk, executive VP/head of business development, Novozymes, said M&G Chemicals is taking a big step towards a bio-based society where biomass is used for products like fuel, chemicals and plastics.
“We are incredibly excited to enable M&G Chemicals’ vision of producing bio-plastics on a commercial scale and are looking forward to the long-term collaboration,” he added.
The company claims it can produce approximately four times the capacity of the biomass conversion facility by Beta Renewables in Crescentino, Italy.
Construction of the bio-refinery will go ahead on once financing has been secured and will start operations in 2015.
The partnership is a joint venture between M&G Chemicals and the Chinese company Guozhen Group, which will make 1 million metric tons of wheat straw and corn stover a year.
PET is one of the key building blocks for plastic packaging, including plastic bottles for water. The lignin by-product will feed a 45 MW cogeneration power plant which will be constructed in conjunction with the bio-refinery.
The facility will use Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology, and Novozymes will supply the enzyme technology for biomass conversion on an exclusive basis over a 15-year period.
Revenue from the bio-refinery, which corresponds to four regular Beta Renewables facilities, is included in the expectations provided by Novozymes at the signing of the agreement with Beta Renewables in October, 2012.
Up to 25 biomass facilities by 2017
As part of the deal, Novozymes agreed Beta Renewables would contract 15-25 biomass conversion facilities in the five-year period up to 2017 and the sales potential for Novozymes from the facilities, once operational, could be up to DKK 1 billion annually.
To support M&G Chemicals’ vision, Novozymes will provide the company with $35m financial support, the exact details of which remain to be determined.
Novozymes does not currently expect to expand its enzyme production capacity to serve the new bio-refinery.