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    Taiwan's Feng Chia University has succeeded in boosting the production of hydrogen from biomass to 15 liters per hour, one of the world's highest biohydrogen production rates, a researcher at the university said Friday. The research team managed to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide (which can be captured and stored) from the fermentation of different strains of anaerobes in a sugar cane-based liquefied mixture. The highest yield was obtained by the Clostridium bacterium. Taiwan News - November 14, 2008.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dynamotive demonstrates fast-pyrolysis plant in the presence of biofuel experts

Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, a leader in bio-oil production technology, today announced it hosted a tour of its fast-pyrolysis plant in Guelph, Ontario, with over seventy-five global biofuel experts attending. Amongst them were scientists from the International Energy Agency's Bioenergy Task 40, to which we refer often as they are leading research into global bioenergy trade and logistics.

Dynamotive's plant is the first commercial-scale facility to produce bio-oil from biomass. The pyrolysis plant comprises eight fully assembled modules and will process, once in full operation, 66,000 dry tonnes of biomass a year and have an energy output equivalent to 130,000 barrels of oil. Because of its modular design, it is seen as a key technology capable of ensuring the emergence of a truly decentralized biofuel production paradigm (earlier post).

Bio-oil is an industrial fuel produced from cellulosic biomass, either obtained from dedicated energy crops or from residues from agriculture and forestry. By rapidly heating the biomass feedstock to temperatures of 450 - 600 °C in the absence of air ('fast' or 'flash' pyrolysis), a heavy pyrolysis oil ('bio-oil') is obtained (schematic, click to enlarge). When combusted this oil produces substantially less smog-precursor nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than conventional oil as well as little or no sulfur oxide gases (SOx), which are a prime cause of acid rain. Bio-oil and Dynamotive's 'BioOil Plus' (earlier post) are price-competitive replacements for heating oils #2 and #6 that are widely used in industrial boilers and furnaces. Bio-oil can also be transformed into designer biofuels for transport.

Dynamotive's plant design has attracted attention from the bioenergy community because it promises genuine decentralized biofuel production. Because the plant is a modular concept, it can be brought to the source of the biomass, instead of bringing bulky feedstock to a central plant. The idea is to turn the bulky biomass feedstock into bio-oil on the spot. This liquid with a much higher energy density can then be transported more economically to more central processing facilities, or directly to end-markets. Moreover, the modularity of the core processing modules allows for better scaleability (more here).

During the demonstration, the plant was operational and for the first time the full cycle of production from wood chips to bio-oil was demonstrated publicly. The plant had previously undergone testing and inspection processes by regulatory and technical authorities in readiness for continuous operation. Previous tests conducted demonstrated the capacity of the plant to operate at its nominal design capacity of 200 tonnes per day biomass input.

Dynamotive and Evolution Biofuels (Dynamotive's partner in the venture) based on the successful start up will now proceed with the final commissioning and synchronization of all systems task that is expected to be completed within two weeks. The plant will be then operated by Dynamotive’s and Tecna’s staff for 60 days before handing over the plant operations to Evolution Biofuels:
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The tour was part of a two-day conference in Toronto sponsored by the IEA's Bioenergy Task 40 which focuses on bioenergy trade, Bioenergy Focus Ontario and the Canadian Bioenergy Association, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to promote utilization of sustainable biomass for the production of biofuels, heat and power.

The Guelph plant, with a capacity to convert 200 tonnes of biomass into bio-oil per day, was developed in partnership with MegaCity Recycling Inc. and operates under the name Evolution Biofuels Inc. This Dynamotive flagship pyrolysis plant was constructed using modules that minimize on-site activities and allow for rapid deployment. It comprises eight fully assembled modules and when fully operational will process 66,000 dry tons of biomass per year with an energy output equivalent to 130,000 barrels of oil.

Prior to the tour, Dynamotive's Vice President Anton Kuipers presented the company's strategic initiatives to conference attendees on Wednesday, September 12. Mr. Kuipers commented during the presentation, "With two BioOil plants completed in Canada and plans underway for additional plants in Latin America and in the United States, Dynamotive is moving ahead in its global initiative to increase production of fuels from biomass." (On Dynamotive's activities in Latin America, see here).

In a very interesting side-development, Dynamotive also announced that it is experimenting with biochar ('agrichar', 'terra preta') which could lead to the production of carbon-negative fuels (more here and here). By storing a carbon-rich fraction of the pyrolysed biomass in agricultural soils, a low-tech carbon sequestration technique can be developed. The process has shown to result in increased yields for the (energy) crops that are planted on such improved soils.

Biopact: Dynamotive and Mitsubishi Corporation sign cooperation agreement - August 02, 2007

Biopact: Dynamotive plans to build 6 bio-oil plants in Argentina - April 30, 2007

Biopact: Dynamotive begins construction of modular fast-pyrolysis plant in Ontario - December 19, 2006

Biopact: Biomass-to-liquids: bring the factory to the forest, not the forest to the factory - September 18, 2006

Biopact: Carbon negative biofuels: Dynamotive to test biochar to boost crop yields, water quality, and sequester carbon - May 30, 2007


Blogger erich said...

Other BIG Terra Preta Soil news;

The Honolulu Advertiser: “The nation's leading manufacturer of charcoal has licensed a University of Hawai'i process for turning green waste into barbecue briquets.”

About a year ago I got Clorox/KingsFord folks interested in TP soils including Dr. Antal's Plasma Carbonazation process.

See: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007707280348

Here's An ECO-GEEK Interview with Karl Schroeder , a Sci-Fi writer has seen the TP vision , although it's The Kayopo (Spelling?) who should be getting the credit verses the Mayan. Months ago I nominated them to Richard Branson for a posthumous Carbon Prize.


"ECO-GEEK: You mention 'agrichar' in your Billion Dollars wishlist. That's not something I was very familiar with (though I think I got the gist of it after a little quick Google search). Can you tell us a little more about it (and why it's important or useful), or suggest a good website or link for more information for readers who would like to learn more about this?

Karl Schroeder: Agrichar is a modern version of "Terra Preta" which was used centuries ago in the Amazon basin to allow the nutrient-poor soils there to produce lavish crops. It's basically a burn-and-bury process that sequesters carbon, replaces commercial fertilizers, revives dying soils, and all in all is a perfect technique for long-term sustainable soil health. Simple enough that the Mayans could perfect it, with the potential to be used all over the world. It's a pretty new process so there's not too many sources of information out there about it, unfortunately. But it's precisely the sort of transformative technology we need."

Here's an image of a wood sculpture sent to me by Jerard Pearson, a crop/compost artist who is planning a large scale charcoal / Chalk piece of field art at the state fair grounds near Omaha. He has been trying to buy Char from T. Beer at Kingsford, but getting no response. He plans to use a hydro-seeder with a mixture of Char and cellulose mulch as a wet "air brush" to paint the field. I hope it will draw some media attention for TP soils.

This wood sculpture, in my mind, conjures up inoculant spores carried aboard the "char delivery vehicle" beginning the process of sending out hyphae. Gorgeous.

Check out the other wood sculptures by this Frenchman dude. Pretty cool.


3:48 AM  
Blogger erich said...

Finaly some legislation that talks of Charcoal sequestration in the soil, Please contact your represenative about how important it is to get this into the farm bill!!

S.1884 – The Salazar Harvesting Energy Act of 2007

A Summary of Biochar Provisions in S.1884:

Carbon-Negative Biomass Energy and Soil Quality Initiative

for the 2007 Farm Bill


11:54 PM  
Anonymous laptop adapter said...

Dynamotive's plant design has attracted attention from the bioenergy community because it promises genuine decentralized biofuel production. Because the plant is a modular concept, it can be brought to the source of the biomass, instead of bringing bulky feedstock to a central plant. The idea is to turn the bulky biomass feedstock into bio-oil on the spot.

6:56 AM  

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