Denmark’s first full-scale bio-refinery that converts straw for 2nd generation bioethanol has come a step closer.
Maabjerg Energy Concept (MEC) has received 290 million DKK in the form of a operation guarantee from the EU.
The EU funding comes from the EU program NER300.
“The commitment to support is amazing positive news and an endorsement of the project by the EU. This is a huge cadeux to the project and the staff who have worked extensively on the technology, the economy and all the practical since the summer of 2011. This provides us with new energy to get the project through to the end”, Chairman Jørgen Udby says in a statement.
Still no market
In addition to EU funding it is crucial for the project that there actually is a market for 2G bioethanol in Europe. Without political requirements about that a certain amount of ethanol should be added to the gasoline, it makes no sense to produce the millions of liters of alcohol which biorefinery Maarbjerg is designed to.
“The support is a crucial step. But we have to also make sure that we can set aside the 80 million liters of 2G bioethanol, which we expect to produce,” says Udby.
Anne Grete Holmsgaard, director of the industry association BioRefining Alliance, believes it has great potential for Denmark to establish a biorefinery in industrial scale. “Not only because it makes it possible for the Danish technologies that are included in the project to be leaders in world markets; also because it creates a lot of jobs in the local area and much international attention,” said Holmsgaard in a statement.
If the system is implemented, it is expected to create 1250 jobs during the construction phase from 2015 to 2017 and 1000 permanent jobs when the plant is put into operation.
EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has followed the project in Maabjerg since she was Danish minister. “That’s why it’s great that the EU now can help to push the project forward. Maabjerg’s technology is an excellent example of how we can use our resources better,” said Hedegaard.
Jørgen Udby explains that stakeholders in the MEC are about to complete the final business plan, and that the economics of the project have been imporved. As such, the project is unlikely to need more support in addition to the nearly 300 million DKK that have now been promised by the EU.