Skip to main content

Commercial flagship plant for bioethanol production involving a bio-based value chain built on lignocellulosic feedstock

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LIGNOFLAG (Commercial flagship plant for bioethanol production involving a bio-based value chain built on lignocellulosic feedstock)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

The LIGNOFLAG consortium aims to confirm the technical, ecological and economic benefits of the large-scale production of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues in Europe, by using an innovative technology for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to cellulosic ethanol. This, in turn, will drive progress towards a low-carbon economy, reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports and create new opportunities for growth and green jobs. The LIGNOFLAG project reflects the vision of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Europe leading the transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based, circular economy, while decoupling economic growth from resource depletion and environmental impact.

Already today the world is facing tremendous societal challenges such as climate change, environmental protection, energy efficiency and resource conservation. With a constantly growing global population these challenges become even more pressing in the medium to long term. Competitive and innovative solutions are needed to address these challenges in a sustainable manner. For Europe it is crucial to understand the main technological and innovation challenges and to quickly build up sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in order to achieve its climate and energy targets for 2030 as well as for 2050. The transport sector has one of the highest growth rates worldwide implying a significant impact on the fuel demand and the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In order to meet international climate commitments, GHG emissions must be reduced significantly and quickly. In the EU, several directives regulate the use of biofuels, most prominently the “Renewable Energy Directive” (RED) and the revised RED II. Most recently, the “European Green Deal” was presented by the European Commission and represents a set of policy initiatives with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050.
The following main objectives have been covered and main results achieved within the Work Packages (WP) of the LIGNOFLAG project:
• Successful evaluation, technical assessment and acquisition of the production site in Podari, south west Romania (WP1)
• Finished Basic Engineering for the site in Podari (WP1)
• Ongoing Detail Engineering activities for the site in Podari (WP1)
• Site preparation and demolition works finished (WP1)
• Groundbreaking ceremony held (WP1)
• Ongoing procurement of the equipment and assets for the cellulosic ethanol plant (WP1)
• Building permit received and construction started (WP1)
• Ongoing construction of the FOIK cellulosic ethanol flagship plant (WP1)
• Established distribution system of the product cellulosic ethanol by contracting off-taker with expertise in trading fuel and established European infrastructure (WP3)
• Established valorisation of the co-product lignin by contracting the company GETEC, who will build, own, operate and maintain a sustainable energy generation plant that uses the lignin as fuel and provides the cellulosic ethanol plant with steam and green electricity (WP4)
• Field trials in Germany using winter wheat as well as the summer crops maize and sunflowers proofed the fertilizer effect of the co-product vinasse and the good environmental sustainability (WP4)
• Successful development and test of a tailor-made large-scale drag hose system to apply vinasse to the field and plants (WP4)
• Start of field trials in Romania in different locations with different soil types using winter wheat and sunflowers (WP4)
• Several biogas batch and fermentation tests of vinasse showing its ability to serve as a mono- or co-substrate for biogas generation (WP4)
• Successful large-scale test of vinasse as a co-substrate in a biogas plant (WP4)
• Preliminary calculation of greenhouse gas savings according to RED II and preliminary full LCA according to ISO 14040/44 based on engineering data and data from environmental assessment report (WP5)
• Assessment of trends in the European mobility and fuel sector as part of the socio-economic assessment (WP5)
• Assessment of current findings concerning feedstock sustainability and land use as part of the socio-economic assessment (WP5)
• Ongoing communication and dissemination activities (WP6)
• Updated dissemination and communication plan (WP6)
• Set-up and maintenance of a project website in English, German and Romanian language including a newsletter subscription service (WP6)
• Creation and update of project flyers and roll-ups in English, German and Romanian language (WP6)
• Organization of local PR activities and events in the vicinity of the flagship plant in Romania, like a media event & press tour or an open-door event for the residents (WP6)
• Organization of meetings as well as general administrative and financial management (WP8)
The LIGNOFLAG project will have the following socio-economic as well as environmental impacts:
• Realisation of a cellulosic ethanol market in Europe through construction and operation of a flagship cellulosic ethanol plant and thus …
• Realizing the objectives of Horizon 2020 and other EU policies, by accelerating the implementation and deployment of cellulosic ethanol production plants in Europe
• Sustainable production of cellulosic ethanol which leads to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) of up to 95 % compared to fossil-based alternatives
• Reduced energy consumption and thus minimum input of fossil-based energy by an integrated energy production using the co-product lignin
• Biofuels enhances sustainable urbanization, as particle count emissions are improved through advanced biofuels compared to fossil fuels
• Usage of agricultural residues leads to an improved use of existing arable land
• Support of the transformation from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based, circular economy
• Reduce dependence on fossil oil/resources/imports by using agricultural residues for the production of cellulosic ethanol, a liquid energy carrier that substitutes fossil gasoline
• Creation of a sustainable and competitive source of domestic renewable energy for the EU
• Reindustrialization of an abandoned industrial sites in Podari
• Mobilization of local resources by usage of so far underutilized agricultural residues like wheat straw
• Primary producers like farmers can sell their straw and therefore diversify and increase their income
• Creation of green jobs in rural areas in the agricultural, logistic, energy, biotechnology and chemical sectors as well as for the construction of the cellulosic ethanol production plant
• Training and education of local workforce to enable them to operate the production plant
• Awareness and understanding of the bio-based economy in the society by dissemination and communication activities within the project
• Scientific boost and knowledge creation through implementation of a new and sustainable process for the production of cellulosic ethanol using innovative biochemistry and biotechnology
• Increased cooperation across regions and countries through a project consortium consisting of beneficiaries from Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania
• Increased cooperation between industry and academia with Clariant as the industrial technology provider and Energieinstitut Linz as the academic institute performing LCA and GHG saving calculations
• Increased competitiveness of European companies by production and promotion of cellulosic ethanol for biofuel application from renewable sources in the EU