GranBio, NextChem partner on cellulosic ethanol

By GranBio | August 04, 2020

GranBio on Aug. 3 announced a strategic alliance with NextChem, the subsidiary of Italian engineering giant Maire Tecnimont dedicated to the energy transition, to co-license its patented technology for the production of second generation ethanol worldwide.

The partnership will enable the commercialization of this technology globally, combining GranBio's knowledge in biomass and second-generation biofuels with NextChem's engineering intelligence and Group global presence, to offer integrated services—feasibility studies, development of integration projects, engineering and construction of factories worldwide. Together, the companies will have the opportunity to lead decarbonization of liquid fuels in an efficient and profitable way on a large scale.

The technology developed by GranBio to produce 2G ethanol has already been implemented in its factory located in São Miguel dos Campos, in Alagoas. USD220 million was invested in the construction of this plant, the first in the Southern Hemisphere dedicated to cellulosic ethanol. Currently, the company has the capacity to produce around 30 million liters of 2G ethanol per year and the potential to export 100 percent of this biofuel to the American and European markets.

“We want to be pioneers in this business model, leading the development of the cellulosic ethanol industry in the world, offering complete solutions, from the feasibility study to the engineering project. Some countries like the United States, China and Brazil already recognize the renewable carbon premium. The European Union, for example, recently determined policies that will promote the construction of dozens of second-generation fuel plants by 2030,” explains Paulo Nigro, CEO of GranBio. In this scenario, GranBio and NextChem intend to lead this new market. "We are confident that our technology is very promising, being the key to a major transformation in the way we produce fuels," he says.

GranBio was able to develop a flexible model for the use of raw materials, which allows the use of almost all types of agricultural waste, such as sugarcane and corn straw and even leftover wood, such as eucalyptus, to produce ethanol cellulosic. “In other words, in addition to having a fully sustainable final product, we were able to make the most of inputs, including recovering degraded areas. Together, we will certainly transform millions of tons of agricultural and forestry waste into second generation ethanol, contributing strongly to decarbonization worldwide. The expected gains go beyond the creation of a new market, but they give meaning to our mission to act to reverse the human impact on the climate. We want to act, effectively, in defense of the planet and of future generations,” concludes Nigro.

“We are proud of the partnership with GranBio, that improves our technological portfolio in the biofuels area and gives NextChem a chance to enter some key markets with a flexible and profitable solution to produce ethanol, a globally used chemical for motor fuel, with many other well established industrial applications and an enormous potential,” said Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of NextChem and of Maire Tecnimont. “GranBio’s reference plant is the only one of this kind, on an industrial scale, that is in operation at a worldwide level. The technology can be deployed globally, as it uses widely available raw materials, which do not interfere in the food sector. With our experience in the chemical and petrochemical sector we are confident in offering a winning solution that we shall be able to industrialize everywhere, thanks to our worldwide presence and engineering capabilities,” he concludes.