Apr. 14, 2011 – Mossi & Ghisolfi Group
(M&G) recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 50-million litres/year (13-million gallons/year), commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production
facility in Crescentino, northwestern Italy. M&G is a partner of enzyme
developer and producer Novozymes. The plant will be 10 times larger than the
largest demonstration facilities in operation today and is designed to operate
on a variety of cellulosic feedstocks. It is scheduled to start production in
“This plant proves cellulosic bioethanol
can be produced in a sustainable manner for the environment and for the
industry,” says Vittorio Ghisolfi, president of M&G Group. “But research is
not stopping here. We are assessing bio-based substitutes for a range of other
petrochemical products and chemical intermediates."
Cellulosic ethanol is produced from
biomass, which is first broken down into a pulp. Enzymes are then added,
turning cellulose in the biomass into sugar, which can be fermented into
ethanol. Novozymes, the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes, has
collaborated closely with M&G for the last couple of years and will supply
the enzymes for the plant. The company says that the price of the ethanol will
be competitive with gasoline.
M&G’s plant in Crescentino will be
self-sufficient in power. Lignin, a co-product extracted from biomass during
the ethanol production process, is burned in an attached power plant that also
feeds excess electricity back to the grid.