Crescentino, an integrated platform for chemistry from renewables

Manufacturing bioethanol from the fermentation of second-generation sugars. A new line for disinfectant production is now up and running.

The relaunch of bioethanol production

The Crescentino (VC) plant specializes in the production of bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. Acquired by Versalis in 2018, it was re-configured following significant investments, to start the production of advanced bioethanol, in conformity with the European legislation on the development of RED II renewable energy, as it derives from raw materials that are not in competition with the food supply chain. The bioethanol, produced using Proesa® technology1, one of the world’s most innovative on an industrial scale in the biomass chemicals sector, is the bioethanol is ISCC-EU certified and will be used for the formulation of petrol with a renewable component. At the Crescentino plant, the hand and surface disinfectant Invix® is also produced, this is a “medical device” made with biobased ethanol as its active ingredient.

The plant is an example of sustainable business and circularity: it is self-sustaining in terms of energy, producing renewable electricity and steam from the power plant fed by short-chain biomass and lignin, a by-product of the process. A complex water treatment plant also enables the production of biogas, which in turn is used to produce steam. In addition, the plant is able to recycle the water used, drastically reducing consumption.

 The Versalis Biochem research centres in Rivalta Scrivia (AL) and Novara are working on further developments in the production of a complete range of fermented renewable products, including bio-oils for the biorefinery, fully biodegradable polymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates - PHA), intermediates for bio-polymers and bio-chemicals, all from second-generation sugars produced using the Proesa® technology, and are also experimenting lignin in new market applications.

 ¹The Proesa® technology converts biomass into second-generation sugars and then produces biofuels or potentially other chemical bio-intermediates.