EIB provides loan for second generation ethanol project

By European Investment Bank | December 13, 2013

The European Investment Bank is providing a €65 million loan to support the research and development projects of Biochemtex, an engineering subsidiary of the Mossi and Ghisolfi Group, a world leader in the field of second generation biofuel production technology.

Biochemtex’s 2013-2016 investment program concerns research carried out in facilities in Rivalta Scrivia (Piedmont) and Modugno (Puglia) to improve the technologies for converting non-food biomass to biofuels and other chemical molecules with industrial applications including ethylene glycol, a raw material used in the production of PET (a plastic used in food packaging).

Biochemtex’s programme is eligible for financing by the EU’s bank for a number of reasons:

- research into the production of second generation biofuels will help to reduce dependence on oil without using potential food resources;

- the resultant reduction of pollution will support the EU and EIB’s efforts to combat climate change;

- over 50 percent of the investment will be carried out at facilities in Modugno, Puglia, an EU convergence region;

- Biochemtex’s total investment of €133 million will create new jobs for highly qualified researchers and scientists.

Biochemtex has developed a technological platform for extracting bioethanol from biomass (reeds and agricultural waste such as rice or wheat straw). The bioethanol is mixed with fossil fuels, enabling a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with EU regulations.

This technology – known as “second generation” to distinguish it from “first generation” technology using amylaceous crops such as maize – makes it possible to extract low-cost sugars that can be used to produce biofuels with industrial applications that can replace oil-based ones: a research project rethinking chemistry along sustainable lines.