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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - LIGNOFLAG (Commercial flagship plant for bioethanol production involving a bio-based value chain built on lignocellulosic feedstock)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-08-31

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.
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, southwest Romania (WP1)
• Finished Basic Engineering for the site in Podari (WP1)
• Finished site preparation and demolition works (WP1)
• Finished Detail Engineering activities for the site in Podari (WP1)
• Groundbreaking ceremony held (WP1)
• Finished procurement of the equipment and assets for the cellulosic ethanol plant (WP1)
• Building permit received and construction started (WP1)
• Ongoing construction of the cellulosic ethanol flagship plant, despite the challenging COVID-19 pandemic situation (WP1)
• All major equipment has been installed and all buildings are erected (WP1)
• Excellent safety record of more than 2 million working hours without a Lost Time Accident (WP1)
• Start of commissioning of the production plant (WP1)
• Ongoing hiring and training of operational staff (WP2)
• 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 (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)
• Ongoing field trials in Romania in different locations 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)
• Development of a set of qualitative indicators for socio-economic assessment (WP5)
• Progress in qualitative indicator assessment based on literature and statistics (WP5)
• First opportunities and threats based on qualitative indicator assessment described (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)
• Set-up and maintenance of project-related Twitter account: @sunliquidPlant (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)
• The ethanol flagship plant has and will be presented to future potential technology users to prove that the technology is ready for commercial production and the risk of an investment is low (WP7)
• Clariant has successfully sold 5 technology licenses to date, with the announcement and promotion of the flagship plant in Podari, Romania (WP7)
• General administrative, contractual, and financial management (WP8)
• Preparation and submission of Deliverables and various other inquires from BBI JU (WP8)
• Organization of project meetings and General Assemblies (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