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Austria’s Innovative Approach to Plastic Production

Bio-Refinery Pilot Plant © ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA


July 29, 2009

Refinery of the Future Produces Plastic Made From Grass

A USD 4.5 million bio-refinery pilot plant – the first of its kind worldwide - was opened in the village of Utzenaich in Upper Austria in May 2009. This new refinery enables not only the production of biogas for generating heat or electricity, but also raw materials for bioplastic and biochemical products for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

The technology involves the separation of up to one ton of silage per hour into green biomass and fibrous pressed cake followed by the purification of the green biomass to yield amino acids and lactic acid. These compounds can then be used as bioplastic raw material.

The province of Upper Austria’s goal is to implement the recycling of grass for the production of bioplastics, the exclusive use of renewable energy for heat and electricity and the reduction of Co2 emissions by two-thirds by 2030.

The bio-refinery, which received government subsidies of more than USD 5 million from the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), is a joint project of the Austrian government, the province of Upper Austria, Energie AG, Linz AG, Rohölauffindungsgesellschaft and the Oberösterreichische Ferngas AG.