<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    Italian refining group Saras is building one of Spain's largest flexible biodiesel plants. The 200,000 ton per year factory in Cartagena can handle a variety of vegetable oils. The plant is due to start up in 2008 and will rely on European as well as imported feedstocks such as palm oil. Reuters - June 7, 2007.

    The University of New Hampshire's Biodiesel Group is to test a fully automated process to convert waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. It has partnered with MPB Bioenergy, whose small-scale processor will be used in the trials. UNH Biodiesel Group - June 7, 2007.

    According to the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC), the Caribbean island state has a large enough potential to meet both its domestic ethanol needs (E10) and to export to international markets. BAMC is working with state actors to develop an entirely green biofuel production process based on bagasse and biomass. The Barbados Advocate - June 6, 2007.

    Energea, BioDiesel International and the Christof Group - three biodiesel producers from Austria - are negotiating with a number of Indonesian agribusiness companies to cooperate on biodiesel production, Austrian Commercial Counselor Raymund Gradt says. The three Austrian companies are leading technology solution providers for biodiesel production and currently produce a total of 440,000 tons of biodiesel per annum in Austria, more than half of their country’s annual demand of around 700,000-800,000 tons. In order to meet EU targets, they want to produce biodiesel abroad, where feedstocks and production is more competitive. BBJ - June 6, 2007.

    China will develop 200 million mu (13.3 million hectares) of forests by 2020 in order to supply the raw materials necessary for producing 6 million tons of biodiesel and biomass per year, state media reported today. InterFax China - June 6, 2007.

    British Petroleum is planning a biofuel production project in Indonesia. The plan is at an early stage, but will involve the establishment of an ethanol or biodiesel plant based on sugarcane or jatropha. The company is currently in talks with state-owned plantation and trading firm Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) as its potential local partner for the project. Antara - June 6, 2007.

    A pilot project to produce biodiesel from used domestic vegetable oil is underway at the Canary Technological Institute in Gran Canaria. Marta Rodrigo, the woman heading up the team, said the project is part of the EU-wide Eramac scheme to encourage energy saving and the use of renewable energy. Tenerife News - June 6, 2007.

    Royal Dutch Shell Plc is expanding its fuel distribution infrastructure in Thailand by buying local petrol stations. The company will continue to provide premium petrol until market demand for gasohol (an petrol-ethanol mixture) climbs to 70-90%, which will prove customers are willing to switch to the biofuel. "What we focus on now is proving that our biofuel production technology is very friendly to engines", a company spokesman said. Bangkok Post - June 5, 2007.

    Abraaj, a Dubai-based firm, has bought the company Egyptian Fertilizers in order to benefit from rising demand for crops used to make biofuels. The Abraaj acquisition of all the shares of Egyptian Fertilizers values the company based in Suez at US$1.41 billion. Egyptian Fertilizers produces about 1.25 million tons a year of urea, a nitrogen-rich crystal used to enrich soils. The company plans to expand its production capacity by as much as 20 percent in the next two years on the expected global growth in biofuel production. International Herald Tribune - June 4, 2007.

    China and the US will soon sign a biofuel cooperation agreement involving second-generation fuels, a senior government official said. Ma Kai, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a media briefing that vice premier Wu Yi discussed the pact with US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and other US officials during the strategic economic dialogue last month. Forbes - June 4, 2007.

    German biogas company Schmack Biogas AG reports a 372% increase in revenue for the first quarter of the year, demonstrating its fast growth. Part of it is derived from takeovers. Solarserver [*German] - June 3, 2007.

    Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has suspended the export of 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil because of community unrest in southern Nigeria, a company spokesman said. Villagers from K-Dere in the restive Ogoniland had stormed the facility that feeds the Bonny export terminal, disrupting supply of crude. It was the second seizure in two weeks. Shell reported on May 15 that protesters occupied the same facility, causing a daily output loss of 170,000 barrels. Rigzone - June 2, 2007.

    Heathrow Airport has won approval to plan for the construction of a new 'green terminal', the buildings of which will be powered, heated and cooled by biomass. The new terminal, Heathrow East, should be completed in time for the 2012 London Olympics. The new buildings form part of operator BAA's £6.2bn 10-year investment programme to upgrade Heathrow. Transport Briefing - June 1, 2007.

    A new algae-biofuel company called LiveFuels Inc. secures US$10 million in series A financing. LiveFuels is a privately-backed company working towards the goal of creating commercially competitive biocrude oil from algae by 2010. PRNewswire - June 1, 2007.

    Covanta Holding Corp., a developer and operator of large-scale renewable energy projects, has agreed to purchase two biomass energy facilities and a biomass energy fuel management business from The AES Corp. According to the companies, the facilities are located in California's Central Valley and will add 75 MW to Covanta's portfolio of renewable energy plants. Alternative Energy Retailer - May 31, 2007.

    Two members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are proposing a study designed to increase the availability of ethanol across the country. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Ia., held a news conference Tuesday to announce that he has introduced a bill in the U.S. House, asking for a US$2 million study of the feasibility of transporting ethanol by pipeline. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., has introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Des Moines Register - May 30, 2007.

    A new market study by Frost & Sullivan Green Energy shows that the renewables industry in the EU is expanding at an extraordinary rate. Today biofuels and other renewables represent about 2.1 per cent of the EU's gross domestic product and account for 3.5 million jobs. The study forecasts that revenues from renewables in the world's largest economy are set to double, triple or increase even more over the next few years. Engineer Live - May 29, 2007.

    A project to evaluate barley’s potential in Canada’s rapidly evolving biofuels industry has received funding of $262,000 from the Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative (BOPI). Western Barley Growers Association [*.pdf] - May 27, 2007.

    PNOC-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC), the biofuel unit of Philippine National Oil Company, is planning to undertake an initial public offering next year or in 2009 so it can have its own cash and no longer rely on its parent for funding of biofuels projects. Manila Bulletin - May 27, 2007.

    TMO Renewables Limited, a producer of ethanol from biomass, has licensed the ERGO bioinformatics software developed and maintained by Integrated Genomics. TMO will utilize the genome analysis tools for gene annotation, metabolic reconstruction and enzyme data-mining as well as comparative genomics. The platform will enable the company to further understand and exploit its thermophilic strains used for the conversion of biomass into fuel. CheckBiotech - May 25, 2007.

    Melbourne-based Plantic Technologies Ltd., a company that makes biodegradable plastics from plants, said 20 million pounds (€29/US$39 million) it raised by selling shares on London's AIM will help pay for its first production line in Europe. Plantic Technologies [*.pdf] - May 25, 2007.

    Shell Hydrogen LLC and Virent Energy Systems have announced a five-year joint development agreement to develop further and commercialize Virent's BioForming technology platform for the production of hydrogen from biomass. Virent Energy Systems [*.pdf] - May 24, 2007.

    Spanish energy and engineering group Abengoa will spend more than €1 billion (US$1.35 billion) over the next three years to boost its bioethanol production, Chairman Javier Salgado said on Tuesday. The firm is studying building four new plants in Europe and another four in the United States. Reuters - May 23, 2007.

    According to The Nikkei, Toyota is about to introduce flex-fuel cars in Brazil, at a time when 8 out of 10 new cars sold in the country are already flex fuel. Brazilians prefer ethanol because it is about half the price of gasoline. Forbes - May 22, 2007.

    Virgin Trains is conducting biodiesel tests with one of its diesel engines and will be running a Voyager train on a 20 percent biodiesel blend in the summer. Virgin Trains Media Room - May 22, 2007.

    Australian mining and earthmoving contractor Piacentini & Son will use biodiesel from South Perth's Australian Renewable Fuels across its entire fleet, with plans to purchase up to 8 million litres from the company in the next 12 months. Tests with B20 began in October 2006 and Piacentinis reports very positive results for economy, power and maintenance. Western Australia Business News - May 22, 2007.

    Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui announces he will head a delegation to the EU in June, "to counter European anti-palm oil activists on their own home ground". The South East Asian palm oil industry is seen by many European civil society organisations and policy makers as unsustainable and responsible for heavy deforestation. Malaysia Star - May 20, 2007.

    Paraguay and Brazil kick off a top-level seminar on biofuels, cooperation on which they see as 'strategic' from an energy security perspective. 'Biocombustiveis Paraguai-Brasil: Integração, Produção e Oportunidade de Negócios' is a top-level meeting bringing together the leaders of both countries as well as energy and agricultural experts. The aim is to internationalise the biofuels industry and to use it as a tool to strengthen regional integration and South-South cooperation. PanoramaBrasil [*Portuguese] - May 19, 2007.

    Portugal's Galp Energia SGPS and Petrobras SA have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a biofuels joint venture. The joint venture will undertake technical and financial feasibility studies to set up a plant in Brazil to export biofuels to Portugal. Forbes - May 19, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Case-study reveals template for successful biofuel production

A consortium of eleven companies involved in the biodiesel industry in the North-East of England have developed a template for successful future biofuels production. The Value Chain Analysis (VCA) project, which was undertaken as part of the Cereals Industry Forum (CIF), could prove very valuable in driving future developments in this relatively new sector.

The study titled Meeting the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation - A Biofuels Case Study from Seed to Forecourt [*.pdf], identified areas as critical to the chain, including standardising farming practice, breeding specific varieties for biofuels, ensuring continuity of supply, and providing carbon reporting throughout the chain. The study looked at three biofuels for transport: biodiesel, bioethanol and biogas.

Value Chain Analysis
brings together a team representing all aspects of a supply chain in order to ‘map’ the chain. By ‘walking through’ the chain together, the team is able to identify processes that add value and those that don’t (map, click to enlarge). It is also able to identify problems and areas, and, therefore, to suggest ways in which the chain might be improved. This activity is organised by the Cereals Industry Forum, and was facilitated by Cardiff Business School.

Because of the complexity of the supply chain in this case it was split into two groups – upstream and downstream. The detailed mapping of the upstream chain showed that the total lead-time from basic seed to crusher is about 920 days, out of which 365 days is in multiplication of basic seed, 365 growing on the farm and 180 days on average in central silo. The total mileage from fertiliser manufacturing plant through the distributive chain to the farm and then as crop to the crusher is about 250 miles.

For the downstream chain it showed that the total lead-time from the crusher to the vehicle tank is more than 60 days (excluding time in the tank-farm due to data not available). The total transport in the downstream is about 60 miles (excluding miles traveled in pipelines).

The critical factors for success identified by the team were:
  • The need to standardise and transfer best farming practices more widely: it was shown that improved choice of varieties, reduced fertiliser loss, and reduced harvest loss could make a significant difference to improving the quality of output and the profitability for growers.
  • Breeding specific varieties for biofuels: currently, there are no oilseed varieties specifically for biofuels production. High yield and oil content are key to the success of the whole sector and have a big impact on profitability of biofuels crop production as well as the whole supply chain.
  • Continuity of supply into the crusher with crop storage adjacent to the crusher: key to sustainability of this chain is the continuity of supply of high quality locally-grown crops into the crusher. The crusher connects the upstream and downstream chains and efficiency of the upstream supply is crucial in terms of competitiveness of the whole industry.
  • Carbon reporting from seed to tank: the carbon footprint and the environmental impact of the end-to-end supply chain (seed to tank) must be constantly monitored to ensure that the promised carbon reduction is met.
The upstream group involved fertiliser producer Terra; seed breeder Monsanto; agri-chemicals supplier Agrovista; buying group Farmway; grower John Hutchinson, grain trader GrainCo; and crusher, North East Biofuels. The downstream group included Simon Storage, which provides tank farms for the rape oil and the biodiesel; the Biofuels Corporation, which processed the rape oil to produce biodiesel; PetroPlus, which blends the biodiesel; and JET, which sells the biodiesel:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

John Reynolds, Chairman of North East Biofuels said: “The VCA project was a very valuable exercise and I firmly believe it is a great help as a pointer and a base against which our supply chain members can measure improvements in the coming years. These improvements will be very necessary in a competitive world, where the consumer will demand cost competitiveness at the pump and a product which helps to combat Global Warming.”

Iain Grime, Business Development Manager from PetroPlus said: “The VCA is a valuable project which helps supply chain stakeholders to build better and longer-term relationships. The VCA project looked at opportunities for improving operations and also the logistics in the supply chain. This sector is very mature and the logistical opportunities are limited. However, one of the key findings was the need for transparent and rigorous carbon reporting along the life-cycle of biofuels. This includes all aspects of delivery from grain to fully blended biofuels to the retail outlet.”

More information:

Biofuel Review: Template for successful biofuels production developed - June 7, 2007.

Home Grown Cereals Authority / North East Biofuels: Reducing carbon in a biofuel supply chain A biodiesel case study - 2007, s.d. (June 2007).

Cereals Industry Forum: Meeting the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation: A Biofuels Case Study from Seed to Forecourt - April 2007.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home