Bringing cellulosic ethanol production to industrial scale at Kalundborg


Commercial cellulosic ethanol production has been brought substantially forward and next to commercial level with the Inbicon technology:

  • In terms of technology readiness level, it is estimated that the Inbicon technology has gone from 6-7 to 8-9 on the scale as defined in the Horizon 2020 work programme

  • Cellulosic ethanol production has been demonstrated in continuous, industrial operation

The technology is now ready for full commercial scale deployment, which is substantiated in the current planning and projection of the Maabjerg Energy Concept in Denmark, a project incorporating a full scale cellulosic ethanol plant with a capacity of 80 million litres per year, as well as in several other projects around the world.

Three new green products have been introduced and verified in the market:

  • Cellulosic ethanol for replacement of petrol or replacement of crop-based ethanol

  • C5 molasses for boosting of biogas production plants

  • Lignin pellets for replacement of coal

The cellulosic ethanol has been characterised and its applicability as an alternative to conventional ethanol has been demonstrated in engine tests.

Significant cost reductions have been achieved by introducing the SHF (Simultaneous Hydrolysis and Fermentation) process and combined C5 and C6 fermentation. The original intention was to introduce separate fermentation of C5 sugars at pilot scale only. Based on excellent results obtained, it became possible within Kacelle to integrate the combined C5 and C6 fermentation technology at full scale in the plant rather than just at pilot scale.

Based on data from the process, extensive LCA scenarios have shown that cellulosic ethanol production can meet GHG reduction requirements as well as the impact of various factors, such as location and feedstock on the GHG reduction factor. This can be of high value for the planning of future plants as well as policy development.