The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a €65 million loan to support the research and development projects of Biochemtex, an engineering subsidiary of the Mossi and Ghisolfi Group, a world leader in the field of second generation biofuel production technology.
Biochemtex’s 2013-2016 investment programme concerns research carried out in facilities in Rivalta Scrivia (Piedmont) and Modugno (Puglia) to improve the technologies for converting non-food biomass to biofuels and other chemical molecules with industrial applications including ethylene glycol, a raw material used in the production of PET (a plastic used in food packaging).
Biochemtex’s programme is eligible for financing by the EU’s bank for a number of reasons:
- research into the production of second generation biofuels will help to reduce dependence on oil without using potential food resources;
- the resultant reduction of pollution will support the EU and EIB’s efforts to combat climate change;
- over 50% of the investment will be carried out at facilities in Modugno, Puglia, an EU convergence region;
- Biochemtex’s total investment of €133 million will create new jobs for highly qualified researchers and scientists.
Biochemtex has developed a technological platform for extracting bioethanol from biomass (reeds and agricultural waste such as rice or wheat straw). The bioethanol is mixed with fossil fuels, enabling a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in line with EU regulations.
This technology – known as “second generation” to distinguish it from “first generation” technology using amylaceous crops such as maize – makes it possible to extract low-cost sugars that can be used to produce biofuels with industrial applications that can replace oil-based ones: a research project rethinking chemistry along sustainable lines.
Biochemtex is a global player in the development and production engineering of biochemical processes and technologies based solely on non-food biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels like oil. A subsidiary of the Mossi and Ghisolfi Group, it has its headquarters in Tortona and two research centres in Rivalta Scrivia and Modugno. The Mossi and Ghisolfi Group operates in the United States, Latin America and Asia as well as in Europe. In 2012 it had a turnover of over USD 3 billion and 2 100 employees.