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Biobased chemicals

The alternative to fossil products: Ethyl acetate produced from renewable ethanol

Biobased chemicals

Sustainable ethyl acetate produced in Europe

Solvent for numerous applications

Our mission is to provide our customers with innovative, sustainable products made from biomass. Because in order to counteract climate change, fossil raw materials must be replaced. CropEnergies is taking the next step here: sustainable ethyl acetate (acetic ester) is to be produced from renewable ethanol. Ethyl acetate is a solvent and is widely used in the production of cosmetics, flexible packaging and coatings, paints and adhesives, as well as in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

"If we want to live in a climate-friendly world, we have to change the materials we use and successively replace fossil raw materials with biomass," says Dr Stephan Meeder, CEO of CropEnergies AG.

Reduces carbon footprint

Production process is almost 100% carbon neutral

CropEnergies stands for greenhouse gas savings at all product and production levels. The new business area of biobased chemicals is also in line with this: The planned production process is almost 100% carbon neutral while delivering ethyl acetate of the highest quality. The product offers customers an excellent opportunity to grow with the sustainability trend by significantly reducing their carbon footprint through the use of CropEnergies' ethyl acetate. At the same time, customers benefit from the security of supply and short supply routes of a European production.


Renewable hydrogen

Valuable co-product

The envisaged plant, which produces sustainable ethyl acetate from ethanol and renewable energies, also produces a valuable co-product: green hydrogen. Together with biogenic CO2 from the fermentation of CropEnergies ethanol production, this can form the basis for renewable energies from PtX (Power-to-X) processes, e.g. for the production of e-fuels.

Project in realization

With Johnson Matthey Technology

CropEnergies AG, Mannheim, is to build a plant for the production of renewable ethyl acetate from sustainable ethanol. The planned location is the Zeitz Chemical and Industrial Park in Elsteraue. The supervisory board of CropEnergies has given the green light for the investment in the first production plant of the new Biobased Chemicals division. The total investment for the new production plant will amount to EUR 120 to 130 million, which will be financed from existing liquidity. CropEnergies is currently in the detailed planning and construction phase. The ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for April 2024, with commissioning planned for the end of 2025.

Dr. Stephan Meeder, CEO of CropEnergies AG: "I am very pleased that the next phase of the construction of our new production plant is now beginning and that we are implementing the announcement we made with our strategy for the transformation of CropEnergies into a supplier of innovative, sustainable products from biomass. Because one of the challenges we face today is to make the products we use more sustainable. And one way to do this is to defossilize the raw materials for these products." CropEnergies' renewable ethyl acetate is a sustainable alternative to fossil products and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The project is expected to be profitable within two to three years of commissioning. Meeder continues: "We have set ourselves the target of achieving an ROCE of at least 15 percent for the project." The Supervisory Board of the parent company S├╝dzucker AG has also approved this project. This shows the full support of CropEnergies' strategy, which contributes to the "bio-based chemicals" theme of S├╝dzucker's Group Strategy 2026 PLUS.

The new production plant will be the first of its kind in Europe. It will use sustainable ethanol and renewable energy sources to produce 50,000 tons of renewable ethyl acetate per year. Ethyl acetate is widely used in the production of flexible packaging and coatings, paints and adhesives as well as in the food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Currently, ethyl acetate is mainly produced from fossil raw materials. The renewable ethyl acetate produced by CropEnergies in Germany in the future will not only significantly reduce the fossil carbon footprint of the products made from it, but will also offer customers the opportunity to increase security of supply thanks to domestic production in Europe. Discussions with future customers show that there is great interest in this new, sustainable product. A production site in the Zeitz region will also contribute to additional added value in the Burgenland district and create around 50 jobs for highly qualified employees.

The plant will use production technology from Johnson Matthey, London, UK, which minimizes carbon dioxide emissions and produces ethyl acetate, considered to be the highest quality product on the market. The technical partner for the construction of the plant is De Smet Engineers & Contractors, Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium.


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