Foundation stone of Südzucker bioethanol plant to be laid in Zeitz on 6 February 2004

Mannheim, 06.02.2004

Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt, Mannheim, is constructing a plant for the production of bioethanol in Zeitz/Saxony Anhalt, which is to come into operation in spring 2005. This plant, which will operate in conjunction with the local sugar factory and is to have an annual output of 260,000 m³ of bioethanol, will be unique in Europe, both in terms of design and scale.

The main raw material for the production of ethanol will be wheat, but other products derived from sugar production or other types of cereals may also be used to a limited extent. Zeitz was a suitable site partly because of political support, but also, in particular, because of the easy availability of raw materials. The EUR185 million investment will create 50 new jobs at the plant and 50 additional jobs in the surrounding area.

700,000 metric tons of grain per year will be needed to produce 260,000 m³ of bioethanol, corresponding to a yield of about 7 metric tons per hectare over an area under cultivation of about 100,000 hectares. This will help to protect about 1,000 agricultural jobs and is therefore fully in keeping with the EUs aim of promoting the development of agricultural regions.
Bioethanol, which is environmentally friendly, is used as a fuel. The current standard applicable to fuels for internal combustion engines (EN 288) already permits the use of up to 5% bioethanol in terms of volume as a direct additive to petrol. In addition, this standard also permits the use, in terms of volume, of up to 15% ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl), an octane enhancer that can be produced from ethanol and is already used extensively in France and Spain. According to the calculations of Munich Technical University, the new plant in Zeitz will on its own result in a 520,000 metric ton reduction in CO2 emissions. ETBE and bioethanol are excellent additives to petrol, since they improve knock resistance, enrich petrol with oxygen and therefore make internal combustions operate more efficiently, do not contain any sulphur and are free of aromatic compounds. The oil industry only needs to change the way in which the product is handled if bioethanol is added directly to petrol. No adjustments are necessary if it is added as ETBE.

About 260,000 metric tons of high-quality high-protein feed are obtained as a complementary product during the production of bioethanol and can be dried to make DDGS («distillers dried grain with solubles), which can be sold on domestic feed markets.

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