China New Energy acquires equity stake in Hungarian ethanol plant

By Erin Voegele | June 04, 2015

China New Energy Ltd. recently announced it has acquired 24 percent of the issued equity of the Hungary-based Visontai Bioetanol Fejlesztő Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság ethanol plant for €250,000 ($281,379). According to CNE, it has the option to acquire additional equity in Visontai, up to 50 percent, for further payment of €250,000.

In 2013, CNE was contracted by Visontai to design and construct a corn ethanol facility with a nameplate capacity of 150,000 liters (39,625 gallons) per day. NCE indicated the project is currently expected to take 13 months to build, and is scheduled to begin production in 2017.

Under the agreement with Visontai, CNE is expected to supply its proprietary pretreatment, fermentation, distillation and dehydration technology, along with long-term training, support and maintenance. Local project partners are expected to complete civil engineering and construction of the plant. The contract value for CNE is estimated to be €34 million, with €11 million of that amount to by CNE to local contractors.

According to CNE, a feedstock agreement is in place with Hungarian farmers and a long-term off-take agreement for ethanol has been formed with an international commodity trader.

In late March, CNE released a trading update, noting the recent fall in oil prices had caused delays and cancellations within the bioenergy industry. While CNE reported some delays were expected with some of its projects, the projects were broadly proceeding as planned. At that time, CNE said construction of the Visontai facility was expected to begin construction later this year.

CNE also provided updates of several other projects in the March announcement. A 120 MMly cassava ethanol plant designed and constructed by CNE and its partner Oriental Scientific Instrument Import and Export Corp. (OSIC) opened in Thailand last year. As a result of the successful project, UBE has commissioned a second plant, with regulatory approval for that project expected this year.

In Africa, CNE entered a development partnership with Sunbird Bioenergy Africa in 2013 to develop an initial 120 MMly cassava ethanol plant in Nigeria, with an additional nine projects proposed in the region. According to CNE, the initial project is awaiting government approval and is expected to begin development this year.

In China, CNE said it has a pipeline of projects focused on maintenance and upgrading previously built first-generation plants.