Clariant and Technip Energies in Sunliquid Alliance

21.04.2022 - Swiss chemicals company Clariant has entered into a cooperation agreement for its Sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology with Technip Energies. The technology converts agricultural residues, woody materials or municipal solid wastes into cellulosic sugars, which are then fermented into cellulosic ethanol.

Clariant said Sunliquid customers will benefit from the combination of its proven technology with Technip Energies’ deep experience as an engineering, procurement and construction contractor in building advanced biofuel plants.

“The cooperation with Technip Energies will enhance the service offerings we provide to our customers and thus will accelerate the Sunliquid footprint with the ultimate aim of transitioning to an emission-free mobility,” said Christian Librera, vice president & head of Clariant’s biofuels & derivatives business line.

Ethanol produced by the Sunliquid process can be used as a drop-in product for fuel blending and offers further opportunities downstream into sustainable aviation fuels and bio-based chemicals, Clariant said. It can also be further processed into green ethylene and ethylene derivatives, and other sugar-derived chemicals using other proprietary technologies offered by Technip Energies.

At the end of last year, Clariant completed construction of its first full-scale commercial Sunliquid plant in Podari, Romania. The plant, which processes about 250,000 t/y of straw to produce 50,000 t/y of cellulosic ethanol, has started up and will be fully operational sometime during 2022.

In separate news, Clariant has completed the sale of its 50% stake in Scientific Design to joint venture partner SABIC. Scientific Design licenses high-performance process technologies and manufactures catalysts.

The transaction was originally announced on Feb. 2 and Clariant’s share was valued at $130 million. The Basel-based group said it will use the proceeds to invest in growth projects within its core business areas, execute its strategy along sustainability and innovation, fund performance improvement programs and strengthen its balance sheet to reach and defend a solid investment grade rating.

For SABIC, the acquisition will deepen its growth in the specialties market and help it meet increasing demand for catalysts. Last year, the Saudi giant repositioned its specialties division as a stand-alone strategic business unit in order to unlock organic and inorganic growth opportunities independent of feedstock dynamics.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist