Celanese Corp. will accelerate its original schedule and now expects to begin industrial ethanol production in China earlier than previously announced. In addition to the company's previously announced plans for one, and possibly two, greenfield units, the company plans to modify and enhance its existing integrated acetyl facility at the Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park with its TCX advanced technology. The modifications would add approximately 200,000 tons of ethanol production capacity by mid-2013, pending approvals, and would accelerate the project 6-12 months from its previous plan. The new ethanol production would increase the overall profitability of the site by enhancing the mix of products manufactured with the current capacity of certain critical raw materials available at the site. Total investment for the project is expected to be a fraction of the required capital for a greenfield facility. Celanese's TCX advanced technology combines its proprietary and industry-leading acetyl platform with advanced manufacturing technology to produce ethanol from hydrocarbon-sourced feedstocks.
The company also announced it has broken ground on the previously announced technology development unit for ethanol production at its facility in Clear Lake, Texas, which is now expected to be operational by mid-2012. The company also intends to construct a new research and development facility at the Clear Lake site to continue the advancement of its acetyl and TCX technologies. Collectively, the new technology development unit and research and development facility are expected to create 50 additional technical jobs at the Clear Lake site.
"This project acceleration allows us to begin industrial ethanol production significantly earlier than previously anticipated to capture demand growth in China and create value for our shareholders," said David Weidman, chairman and chief executive officer. "We continue to progress on our previously announced greenfield options in China to meet our future growth objectives in the ethanol and acetyl industries."