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CropEnergies AG to use Johnson Matthey technology to produce renewable ethyl acetate

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

CropEnergies AG and Johnson Matthey have entered into an engineering, license and technical services agreement for a plant to allow CropEnergies AG to produce renewable ethyl acetate from sustainable ethanol near its production site in Zeitz, Germany.

Using Johnson Matthey technology, the renewable ethyl acetate produced by CropEnergies will reduce the fossil carbon footprint of a wide range of everyday products and offers an excellent opportunity for its’ customers to grow with the sustainability trend. Building it would require an investment of approximately €80 to €100 million and would lay CropEnergies’ first foundation stone of Biobased Chemicals as a new business line.

Johnson Matthey will prepare the process design package scheduled for completion mid-2022 after which CropEnergies will make the final investment decision. The plant will be designed to produce 50 000 tpy of renewable ethyl acetate from renewable ethanol feedstock and renewable energy to drive the process. The plant will also generate renewable hydrogen as a co-product that together with biogenic CO2 from the CropEnergies fermentation process, will be the basis for further conversion of renewable energy into PtX (power-to-X) downstream routes, to produce e-fuels, for example.

Dr Stephan Meeder, CEO of CropEnergies AG, said: “If we want to live in a climate friendly world, we have to change the materials we use. Our goal is to provide to our customers innovative, sustainable products made out of biomass. As a sustainable alternative to fossil products, renewable ethyl acetate significantly saves greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ethyl acetate is widely used in the production of cosmetics, flexible packaging and coatings, paints and adhesives, as well as in food, beverage and pharmaceutical applications. In addition to lowering customers’ fossil carbon footprint, renewable ethyl acetate produced near Zeitz would also offer customers the opportunity to source locally in Europe, providing greater security of supply.

Meeder continues: “We are convinced that the results of the project evaluation will be favourable and are excited to start this project with our partner Johnson Matthey.”

"JM’s vision is for a world that’s cleaner and healthier today and for future generations and we are proud that CropEnergies has chosen our DAVYTM ethyl acetate process technology for their innovative renewable chemicals plant in Zeitz, Germany,” said Alberto Gionvanzana, Managing Director for Johnson Matthey. “Our process is ideally suited for use with bio-based ethanol feeds and offers an ethyl acetate route that is almost 100% carbon neutral while providing a valuable hydrogen co-product stream. We are committed to helping the chemical industries manage the transitions needed to decarbonise and are looking forward to supporting CropEnergies through the engineering and beyond for this ground breaking project.”

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