GraalBio Investimentos S.A. and Beta Renewables recently announced that GraalBio will build Brazil’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, which is scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2013. With a production capacity of 65,000 metric tons per year (22 million gal), the plant will use Beta’s PROESA® technology to deliver ethanol while using non-food cellulosic biomass as its feedstock. PROESA is the same technology as will be used at the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, expected to start operations in the second half of 2012. Chemtex, a division of chemical firm Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), will reportedly provide engineering services, key equipment and technical field services. 

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer. The plant will be built at Nord Est, Alagoas, Brazil, next to an existing plant that produces bio-ethanol from sugarcane; the two plants will share utilities. The plant will use locally sourced sugarcane straw and bagasse as feedstock. In addition, the plant will reportedly generate its own power by using the lignin produced as a byproduct of the PROESA process.

“We applaud GraalBio’s vision in choosing the PROESA process to produce second-generation bioethanol,” said Guido Ghisolfi, CEO of Beta Renewables. “We believe that PROESA technology will let producers see superior returns on their investments while enabling more sustainable production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals.”

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