Ethanol has been produced for over 100 years in Örnsköldsvik’s biorefinery area. Ethanol was the residual product obtained in the manufacture of pulp. Today, special viscose is manufactured and the ethanol is classified as a sustainable raw material.
Sekab is also in this area and our main raw material is ethanol. We refine ethanol into a range of base chemicals and chemical products. We also develop new technologies for the production of ethanol from cellulose-based biomass such as residues from the forest and sawmill industry.
The application areas of ethanol are many, and in principle everything that today is made from oil can instead be made from ethanol.
Ethanol can be produced partly through biological processes such as fermentation and partly synthetically. The synthetic production of ethanol takes place in the oil industry using oil as a raw material. The method entails that water is catalytically applied to ethylene. The end product is fossil-based ethanol. The biological production of ethanol takes place using a cellulose-based raw material and provides bio-based ethanol.
Bio-based ethanol is a good choice for the climate and the environment and all ethanol produced today from fossil raw materials could instead be made from renewable and biological raw materials.
This ethanol is classified as second-generation ethanol since the raw material used is a residual product from already existing production, in this case special cellulose for viscose. In everyday language it is also called forest ethanol. First-generation ethanol is produced from agricultural products such as sugar cane, cereal or corn.
Today, Sekab uses this ethanol to provide a range of premium products within both the chemical field and fuels. These products are renewable, durable and have extremely good climate characteristics.
Second-generation ethanol has two major benefits. Firstly, it provides enormous climate benefits compared to fossil fuels, even greater than regular bioethanol. Secondly, there is no risk of it competing with food production because it is produced from a residual product.
This is one of the reasons SEKAB has developed a dedicated process for the production of ethanol from various types of biomass and wood raw materials, a process with very broad applications. Already today, we see a great demand for and interest in second-generation ethanol and we want to see large-scale production as soon as possible.