Processes using renewable raw materials are our direct contribution to the decarbonisation strategy. For this reason, we have decided to expand our licensing portfolio with innovative technologies that allow us to transform agricultural and forestry residues into valuable resources. The first example is PROESA®, our proprietary technology for the production of cellulosic ethanol, also known as second-generation ethanol (referred to as ‘Advanced biofuel’ by the EU), through a process of hydrolysis and subsequent fermentation of abundantly available biomass, such as agricultural waste, wood chips and energy crops.
PROESA®, our solution for advanced bioethanol production
Advanced biofuels represent an important and immediately applicable solution for decarbonisation and are therefore the subject of increasing interest today.
In this context, we have developed PROESA® technology for the production of cellulosic ethanol from residual biomass from agricultural or forestry production, not competing with the food/feed chain, while utilising local resources that would otherwise be wasted.
Blending ethanol into petrol thereby reduces its carbon footprint.
This technology has been applied for the first time in the world in the production processes of our Crescentino (Vercelli) site and is available for licence on international markets.
Thanks to the well-established cooperation with our partners, we are able to support the end customer throughout the entire project development process, from the initial idea to feasibility studies up to a complete EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) package .
The benefits of the PROESA® technology:
- flexibility - different types of feedstock can be used, e.g. wheat or rice straw, maize processing residues, sugar cane bagasse, forest or wood industry residues, energy crops such as Napier Grass or Arundo Donax
- guarantee - the Crescentino plant has developed a unique wealth of experience in the application of this technology on an industrial scale. This allows us to offer not only solid guarantees to our licensees but also access to continuous improvements in the years to come
- sustainability - developed with the idea of minimising impact on the environment at its core. With chemical-free pre-treatment, it offers the possibility of adding value to process by-products such as lignin and to develop zero-water-discharge configurations that maximise reuse of process water
Recently, Versalis has acquired from DSM - a global, purpose-led company in Health, Nutrition & Bioscience- the technology to produce enzymes for second-generation ethanol which integrates with proprietary PROESA® technology, improving the competitiveness of technology and production.
Enzymes are essential to produce second-generation sugars as they allow the saccharification of biomass. These sugars are then transformed, through fermentation processes, into cellulosic ethanol - “advanced bioethanol” - or into other chemical intermediates. Bioethanol, produced through PROESA® technology, is used for the formulation of petrol with a renewable component.
The acquisition of this technology strengthens Versalis' position as a leader in chemistry from renewable sources and bolsters the path towards decarbonization for the company.
DSM enzymes have already been successfully tested at Versalis research centers for their use in conjunction with the proprietary PROESA® technology.
We start from alternative and renewable sources to offer sustainable products with a view to decarbonisation.