Macedonia to get cellulosic ethanol plant

The Irish and US companies, Ethanol Europe Renewables Limited and DuPont respectively, will soon launch a construction of most sophisticated cellulosic ethanol plant in the region of Prilep. The project is a subject of a Memo of Cooperation, signed Thursday by Macedonia's Minister for Foreign Investments Bill Plaveski, Ethanol Europe Renewables Limited President Mark Turley and Jan Koninckx, global business director for Biorefineries at DuPont.

"The project includes a construction of modern biorefinery with a capacity of 100 million liters. The plants production is aimed for the global market. The project, a five-year investment of EUR 250 million, will create 1.000 jobs. The plant's construction should start in 2016 and be completed for two years," Pavleski told reporters after the signing ceremony.

The plant will revitalize Mariovo region and substantially boost Macedonia's economic growth, by potential annual export of over EUR 100 million and new jobs, Plaveski said.

Turley said the negotiations with Macedonia's Government and local authorities for erecting the plant in Prilep region went on for two years. The ethanol is one of the best possibilities at our disposal to revive rural areas in Europe, he added.

At the moment DuPont is building a cellulosic ethanol plant in the US, which will serve as an example for the production facility that is to be erected in the region of Prilep, Koninckx said.

Earlier today Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski held talks with the representatives of the Irish and US companies.

Cellulosic ethanol commercialization is the process of building an industry out of methods of turning cellulose-containing organic matter into fuel. The shift from food crop feedstocks to waste residues and native grasses offers significant opportunities for a range of players, from farmers to biotechnology firms, and from project developers to investors. As of 2013, the first commercial-scale plants to produce cellulosic biofuels have begun operating. Cellulosic ethanol can be produced from a diverse array of feedstocks, such as wood pulp from trees or any plant matter.