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Three ethanol plants to be built in Malta - report

Algae among non-food biomass to be used

GeneSyst U.K. Ltd., part of Hudson, Ohio-based Genesyst Inc., is planning to invest €435 million in three waste-to-ethanol plants in Malta, Bloomberg news service reported today.

The first project will produce 90 million litres of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline and used as transport fuel, Peter Hurrell, director at Wirral, northwest England-based GeneSyst, was quoted as saying.

Design and construction of the first facility should start in the second half of this yea and it is expected to start operating in 2013 to 2014.

GeneSyst’s second plant will be about twice the size of the first and should start working by 2014-2015.

The final project will be a “different format” to the previous two, said Hurrell. It may be co-located in Gozo and Malta, he said.

“Malta was chosen by GeneSyst U.K. because it is strategically located for the wider development of the company in the general locale of the Mediterranean and beyond,” said Hurrell.

“Importantly, Malta has an excellent source of engineering technicians and apprentices with the skills needed to support the operations and maintenance needs of the first Malta biomass- to-ethanol facility,” he said.

The facilities will use biomass derived from non-food sources to produce the clean fuel, he said Hurrell. The majority will be sourced from outside Malta.

GeneSyst is building two similar facilities in Yorkshire.

A Finance Ministry spokesman was not in a position to comment on the report.

On its website, GeneSyst says the first of the three plants will be developed through its local operating company Applied Biofuels (Malta) Limited.

To produce the 90 million litres of Ethanol the plant will use around 260,000 tonnes of non-food based Biomass (or ligno-cellulose) including storm deposited sea-weed (macro-algae) 'washed up on Malta’s pristine bathing beaches'.

When the Malta Biomass to Ethanol Facility Nr 1 is completed it will employ over 140 permanent staff from Malta the majority of whom will be technicians and apprentices.

Genesyst UK Limited will be using part of the Malta Biomass to Ethanol Facility Nr 1 as a Training Centre to assist it in its wider developments across the Mediterranean Basin and nearby countries. It has already opened up discussions with the local higher education centres to establish a programme for training staff from within Malta and from overseas on the operations and maintenance.

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