PROESA™ / The scientific research
The scientific research™

How does it work?

The PROESA™ technology was developed to obtain cellulosic sugars from non-food biomass. Today these sugars can be converted into bioethanol on an industrial scale and, within a short time, into other biofuels and chemicals.
PROESA™ encompasses a first pretreatment step, so-called "smart cooking", necessary to separate the three basic elements of biomass: lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. This is followed by a proprietary process for the reduction of viscosity, which prepares the substrate for the subsequent simultaneous saccharification of cellulose and hemicellulose and the co-fermentation of simple C5 and C6 sugars, so obtained, into ethanol (SSCF method). The biocatalyst that allows the enzymatic hydrolysis of complex sugars to monomeric fermentable sugars has been developed by Novozymes, world leader in the enzymes industry.
To achive a high separation efficiency, chemical additives are not required. PROESA™ is therefore a highly competitive process, also from an economic point of view.
After fermentation, the bioethanol is obtained by distillation and purified to meet specific regulations regarding its use as fuel. The lignin is isolated by a filtration process and used as a source of energy or else sold on the market.

Some more details

PROESA™ combines an enzymatic pretreatment process with fermentation. This process has a shorter residence time than other enzymatic hydrolysis approaches, is acid and alkali-free and has minimal byproducts. The parameters are adjustable, providing flexibility in the desired output of C5 and C6 sugars and lignin, to be used in the production of chemical intermediates. Our approach turns out to be better, both from a yield and from an economic point of view, than other hydrolysis or gasification technologies available today.
The technology is protected by 26 patent family applications, 14 of which are public.

Where was PROESA™ born?

PROESA™ is the result of over 7 years of research by the Biochemtex laboratories of the Mossi Ghisolfi Group, in Rivalta Scrivia (Alessandria) and Sharon Center, in Ohio (USA), with a total investment of 150 million Euro.
The activities started in 2006 and continued over the years with the construction of a pilot plant in Rivalta Scrivia (operational since 2009), on which the laboratory results were validated to determine their feasibility on an industrial scale. About 6 years, during which validation was ongoing, were necessary before taking this technology to an industrial scale in the currently operative plant located in the municipality of Crescentino (VC).
For further information on Crescentino kindly click here.