The overall goal of COMETHA Project is the construction and operation of an integrated precommercial industrial facility for the production of 80,000 t/y of second generation bioethanol starting from lignocellulosic biomass (ethanol plant conversion yield: from 4.3 to 1) at Porto Marghera (VE, Italy). The plant will be the first in its kind at pre-commercial scale and will validate the innovative Biochemtex PROESA technology, already tested at pilot scale and in the next future through the operation of a 40,000 ton/y cellulosic ethanol Demo plant in Crescentino (start-up 2013). With the support of Venice Town and petrochemical companies, the realization of the Marghera 2G flagship will provide data for commercial scale-up and it serves as a vehicle for ongoing renewable technology improvement and bioethanol market deployment. The project will address the development of the sustainable biomass supply chain based on c.360,000 tonnes of lignocellulosic biomass per year derived from the Region of Veneto, such as dedicated perennial crops (Arundo donax) and agricultural residue (corn stover, the most suitable feedstock for bioethanol production in the considered geographical scenario). The COMETHA project will focus on demonstrating the second generation process steps in an integrated industrial scale biorefinery, including key innovative units (such as innovative proprietary pretreatment, SSCF with the use of novel high performance enzymes and modified MOs, high efficiency integrated distillation and dehydration system, valorisation of secondary streams and process integration). Moreover, a preliminary and detailed LCA of the bioethanol flagship plant for both Arundo donax and corn stover will demonstrate a substantial reduction in terms of GHG emissions of the 2G ethanol with respect to gasoline (82% and 86% respectively): this will certificate the respect of the scientific and technological quality criterion and the sustainability of Biochemtex PROESA technology.
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