Celanese to commercialize technology that produces industrial-use ethanol from hydrocarbons; coal-to-ethanol in China, methane-to-ethanol in US

Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, intends to construct manufacturing facilities in China and the US to utilize recently-developed advanced technology for the production of ethanol for chemical applications and other industrial uses. Celanese’s process technology builds on the company’s acetyl platform and integrates new technologies to produce ethanol using basic hydrocarbon feedstocks.

Ethanol’s uses in chemical and industrial applications include the manufacture of paints, coatings, inks and pharmaceuticals.

The company has successfully integrated newly developed technologies with elements of our proprietary advanced acetyl platform to provide an economically-advantaged solution for global ethanol needs.

—Dave Weidman, chairman and CEO

Following necessary approvals, Celanese intends to construct one, and possibly two, industrial ethanol complexes in China to serve the fast-growing Asia region. Initial annual production capacity of each complex is expected to be approximately 400,000 tons. The company could begin industrial ethanol production within 30 months after project approvals. Current chemical application demand for ethanol in China is approximately 3 million tons annually and is expected to grow between 8% and 10% per year.

Celanese’s technology allows capacity to be more than doubled at significantly less than the original investment to meet future demand. The China units would utilize coal as the primary raw material.

Celanese also intends to build an approximately 40,000 ton industrial ethanol production unit at its Clear Lake, Texas, facility for either internal use or merchant demand. The unit will also support continuing technology development efforts over the next several years. Following approvals, construction of the unit is anticipated to begin in mid-2011 and to be completed by the end of 2012. The Clear Lake facility would utilize natural gas as its primary raw material.

While we are focusing on industrial uses at this time, we are also exploring opportunities to apply this technology to fuel ethanol applications in regions where the commercial environment is supportive.

—Dave Weidman


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