JM award-winning ethyl acetate technology to help CropEnergies AG reduce fossil carbon footprint of products

Johnson Matthey and CropEnergies AG, a specialist in biomass-based sustainable chemicals and a leading European producer of ethanol, have entered into an engineering, licence and technical services agreement for a plant to allow CropEnergies AG to produce renewable ethyl acetate from sustainable ethanol.

Johnson Matthey’s award-winning commercial ethyl acetate technology has a proven track record for process improvement, engineering expertise and licensee support. Johnson Matthey’s green technology minimises carbon emissions and produces ethyl acetate widely regarded as having the highest product quality on the market.

Ethyl acetate is widely used in the production of cosmetics, flexible packaging and coatings, paints and adhesives, as well as in food, beverage and pharmaceutical applications. Using Johnson Matthey technology, the renewable ethyl acetate produced by CropEnergies will reduce the fossil carbon footprint of these everyday products and  will offer CropEnergies’ customers the opportunity to source locally in Europe, providing greater security of sustainable supply.

The plant will be designed to produce 50,000 tonnes per year of renewable ethyl acetate from renewable ethanol feedstock using renewable energy to drive the process. The plant will also generate renewable hydrogen as a co-product that, together with biogenic CO2 from the CropEnergies fermentation process, will be the basis for further conversion of renewable energy into PtX (power-to-X) downstream routes, to produce e.g. e-fuels.

Johnson Matthey will prepare the process design package scheduled for completion mid-2022 after which Crop Energies will make the final investment decision.

Alberto Giovanzana, Managing Director for Johnson Matthey, commented: "JM’s vision is for a world that’s cleaner and healthier today and for future generations and we are proud that CropEnergies has chosen our DAVYTM ethyl acetate process technology for their innovative renewable chemicals plant in Zeitz, Germany.”

“Our process is ideally suited for use with bio-based ethanol feeds and offers an ethyl acetate route that is almost 100% carbon neutral while providing a valuable hydrogen co-product stream. We are committed to helping the chemical industries manage the transitions needed to decarbonise and are looking forward to supporting CropEnergies through the engineering and beyond for this ground-breaking project.”

Stephan Meeder, CEO of CropEnergies AG, added: “If we want to live in a climate friendly world, we have to change the materials we use. Our goal is to provide to our customers innovative, sustainable products made out of biomass. As a sustainable alternative to fossil products, renewable ethyl acetate significantly saves greenhouse gas emissions. We are convinced that the results of the project evaluation will be favourable and are excited to start this project with our partner, Johnson Matthey.”

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