Rural Renaissance


Pannonia Bio of the Clonbio Group operates a biorefinery in Dunaföldvár, Tolna County, Hungary with feed grade corn as the biomass used in processing. Animal feed, bioethanol and corn oil are produced from this feedstock. Farms in the region supply over one million tons of corn to the plant each year. From this, the refinery produces 350,000 tons of animal feed, 500 million litres of bioethanol and 10,000 tons of corn oil. Local processing of the corn for export adds considerable monetary and nutritional value to the raw material.

The animal feed is exported by barge on the Danube to countries all over Europe and the Middle East. Its nutritional and health qualities make it superior to raw corn as animal feed. The ethanol is exported by train to oil refineries in Europe where it is blended with petrol to reduce carbon emissions from transport fuels.

The biorefinery is set in a rural area on the banks of the Danube one hundred km from Budapest in the very heart of Hungary’s maize growing region. The nearest town, Dunaföldvár (population ten thousand), is 5 km from the plant. Family farming is a major economic activity in the surrounding area. The biorefinery commenced operations in 2012 and has more than doubled in capacity since then. The plant uses state-of-the-art technology and is also a nursery for development of new bio-based technologies.

The town of Dunaföldvár was affected negatively by the 2008 international recession. Natural decline in the population of the town was exacerbated by significant out-migration. In recent years new investment turned the balance of migration positive and has made Dunaföldvár one of Hungary's most developed towns. The bioethanol plant, which employs 172 people directly and has created over 2,000 jobs indirectly, has been a factor influencing this change.

This summary illustrates the socio-economic impacts of the fully operational Pannonia Ethanol biorefinery on stakeholders in the region based on the findings of research conducted by the Center for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences during 2016.

You can reach the full study here in pdf format