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NOK 58 million to Borregaard's bio-ethanol project

Borregaard has received funding of NOK 58 million from Innovation Norway's environmental technology programme. The money will be used to build a pilot plant for second generation bio-ethanol.

"We regard the support from Innovation Norway as recognition of the research and development work we have carried out so far.  This support is decisive in the further development of our new technology for production of second generation biofuel and other green chemicals. If we are successful with this project we will be able to establish full-scale production of biofuel with a very good climate account," says managing director Per A. Sørlie.

Borregaard has developed new technology for production of bio-ethanol and green chemicals from biomass such as straw and other agricultural and forestry waste. The newly developed technology changes the cellulose fibres in the biomass into sugar that is used for the production of bio-ethanol, while other components in the biomass are made into advanced biochemicals. The technology consists of a multi-stage process, and has given good results at laboratory scale. Borregaard will now upscale the processes in the planned pilot plant that will be built at the company's industrial facility in Sarpsborg.

While Norway has so far been most concerned with bio-diesel, bio-ethanol has been the clear biofuel leader on a global basis. Bio-ethanol is a clean and well-tested fuel that is suitable for replacing petrol in both cars and heavy vehicles. The bus company Ruter has around 20 busses and Asko has several lorries that run on a fuel consisting of 95 percent bio-ethanol.

The pilot plant will cost around NOK 130 million, and the public funding will amount to NOK 58 million. Building is expected to commence in the first half of 2011. 

Borregaard is the world's most advanced bio-refinery. Norwegian spruce provides all of the raw materials for production of advanced biochemicals that can replace oil-based alternatives. Borregaard's special cellulose is used in tablets, adhesives and food. The trees' binding agent, lignin, is the raw material for a number of products that are used in concrete additives, bar batteries and feed products. Bio-ethanol is emptied from the sugar structures in the wood and this is used for biofuel, among other things. Borregaard is the only producer in the world to make the vanilla flavouring, vanillin, from wood. Borregaard's largest plant is in Sarpsborg, but the company has a number of facilities in Europe, America and South Africa. Borregaard has a total workforce of around 1300 employees in 20 countries, 770 of these in Sarpsborg.