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Options for the establishment of a biorefinery in a European port

Options for the establishment of a biorefinery in a European port

In an action plan for the development of the petrochemical industry in the port of Rotterdam, the option of a biorefinery plant has been proposed. The action plan has been written by Rein Willems, former Shell director, on request of the ministry of Economic Affairs and Rotterdam Port company. Next to strategies to combat shale gas competition and oil overcapacity from the Middle East, is the building of a biorefinery producing sugar, ethanol and lignine from imported second generation biomass (1 million ton a year) to support green chemistry and biochemistry (e.g. Corbion) and thus the development of new industrial activities. An investment of € 500-800 million would be needed, however, the current market situation (low oil price and limited industrial implementation of bio-based products) makes this investment unattractive from an industrial point if view. Support from the government would be needed and they propose credit garantuee via the Rotterdam Port company (70% owned by the government) who can set up a company with public investment money (e.g. pension funds). They request € 2 million per year from the government to develop this scenario by 2018.