The first plant in the world for the industrial production of second-generation bioethanol was started up in Crescentino, province of Vercelli, at the end of 2012. At full capacity, the plant will produce 40.000 tons per year.
The plant EPC was carried out by Biochemtex, affiliate of the Mg Group and is based entirely on the PROESA™ technology, also developed by Biochemtex.
Crescentino is the living proof that it is possible to produce biofuels from non-food agricultural materials, transforming the cellulose and hemicellulose contained in biomass into simple sugars. A technological and industrial result which seemed out of reach but which was turned into reality by the PROESA™ technology. The bioethanol produced in Crescentino is derived from rice straw, wheat straw and from Arundo Donax, the common giant reed.
The choice to use these raw materials stems from the special characteristics of the Vercelli area, where the cultivation of rice and wheat are common and Arundo Donax can be grown in satisfactory quantities. The biomass is supplied from a maximum radius of 70 km, thus allowing to contain both the transportation costs and the environmental impact.
The Crescentino project was supported by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.
The bioethanol produced at Crescentino is purchased by one of the major global oil companies and distributed on the European markets, in addition to supplying one of the service stations in Tortona